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220 user 72 critic

Harvey (1950)

Not Rated | | Comedy, Drama, Fantasy | 21 December 1950 (USA)
Due to his insistence that he has an invisible six foot-tall rabbit for a best friend, a whimsical middle-aged man is thought by his family to be insane - but he may be wiser than anyone knows.

Director:

Writers:

(from the Pulitzer Prize Play by), (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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Won 1 Oscar. Another 1 win & 4 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
William H. Lynn ...
Judge Gaffney (as William Lynn)
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...
...
...
...
...
...
...
Grayce Mills ...
Mrs. Ethel Chauvenet (as Grace Mills)
...
Mr. Herman Shimelplatzer
Harvey ...
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
...
Eccentric Man (scenes deleted)
...
Undetermined Secondary Role (scenes deleted)
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Storyline

The classic stage hit gets the Hollywood treatment in the story of Elwood P. Dowd who makes friends with a spirit taking the form of a human-sized rabbit named Harvey that only he sees (and a few privileged others on occasion also.) After his sister tries to commit him to a mental institution, a comedy of errors ensues. Elwood and Harvey become the catalysts for a family mending its wounds and for romance blossoming in unexpected places. Written by Dale Roloff

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

The Wonderful Pulitzer Prize Play... becomes one of the Great Motion Pictures of our Time!

Genres:

Comedy | Drama | Fantasy

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

| |

Release Date:

21 December 1950 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Mein Freund Harvey  »

Company Credits

Show more on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (DVD)

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)| (Dolby 5.1)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

James Stewart later declared in an interview that Josephine Hull had the most difficult role in the film, since she had to believe and not believe in the invisible rabbit ... at the same time. See more »

Goofs

At the end of the movie when Harvey is supposed to be in the porch swing, you can see that someone is pulling a string on the arm of the swing to make the swing change its motion. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Mailman: Is this 348?
Elwood P. Dowd: Yes, it is.
Mailman: I gotta special delivery here.
Elwood P. Dowd: Oh, that sounds interesting.
Mailman: It's for Dowd.
Elwood P. Dowd: Dowd. Dowd's my name. Elwood P. Let me give you one of my cards.
Mailman: That won't be necessary sir. Just, eh, sign right here. Beautiful day.
Elwood P. Dowd: Oh, every day's a beautiful day.
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Crazy Credits

At the very end Harvey opens a door and the words at the bottom of the screen say "Harvey as Himself." See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Cinema Snob: Basket Case (2013) See more »

Soundtracks

Waltz No. 1 in D-Flat Major, Op. 64, Minute Waltz
(uncredited)
Music by Frédéric Chopin
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Considered a classic with good reason
21 March 2005 | by See all my reviews

For about the first thirty minutes, I was thinking of some way to politely inform those who recommended this film that it wasn't my cup of tea, but the more I stayed, the more captivated I became. Based on a stage play that opened six years earlier, Harvey, the 1950 film directed by Henry Koster, is a delight. If this Jimmy Stewart classic doesn't make you feel good, you must be related to Mr. Henry F. Potter of Bedford Falls. Harvey is a 6' 3'' Pooka who has befriended a certain Mr. Elwood P. Dowd and this causes all sorts of complications for those around him. In case you didn't know, in Celtic mythology a Pooka is a fearsome spirit that usually takes the form of a sleek dark horse that roams the countryside at night, creating harm and mischief. Well, Harvey is not like that at all.

In fact, Harvey is a very gentle spirit who is always helping people out and can make everybody around him feel relaxed and in a good mood. Now Dowd needs all the help he can get. He likes to take a nip once in a while and is always talking to that danged rabbit to the chagrin of his sister Veta Louise (Josephine Hull) whose social life takes a nosedive when brother Elwood is around. Elwood's shenanigans also interfere with her plans to marry off her daughter Myrtle Mae (Victoria Home). When Veta decides that she has had enough and tries to commit Elwood to a psychiatric institution, the tables are turned and she ends up being committed in a hilarious case of mistaken identity. When Elwood leaves the hospital after being released, the medical staff in the hospital (a bit eccentric themselves) realize their mistake and all try to find him.

The madcap beginning soon turns into a gentle and moving drama. Jimmy Stewart is flawless as the decent man who never loses his temper and always has a smile on his face, giving everyone his card and inviting strangers home for dinner. The supporting cast is top notch as well including the unpleasant Dr. Chumley (Cecil Kellaway), the egotistical psychiatrist Dr. Sanderson (Charles Drake), his love struck assistant Miss Kelley (Peggy Dow) and the overwrought orderly (Jesse White, later known as the Maytag repairman).

Eventually some that ridiculed Elwood and his rabbit privately admit that they could see Harvey themselves and by the end we are gradually convinced that the so-called normal people may be stranger than Mr. Dowd. Harvey is considered a classic and with good reason. It works because of its good-natured humor and its gentle slap at those who automatically condemn ideas that are outside socially acceptable norms without thinking for themselves.


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