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Harvey (1950) Poster

(1950)

Trivia

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At the suggestion of James Stewart, the director changed many shots to make them wider so that "Harvey" would be in the frame.
As a joke, the cast and crew would often set a chair for the title character at lunch and order him something to eat.
Although James Stewart is 6'4'', he refers to Harvey as being 6'3 1/2'' tall in the film and looks up at him during the entire film. That's because this is Harvey's height in the original play by Mary Chase. In a 1990 interview, Stewart said that he had decided that for the film, Harvey was going to be 6'8'', so that he could indeed look up at him.
Though James Stewart's character, Elwood P. Dowd, may certainly be referred to as an alcoholic, only at one time in the entire picture is he seen taking a drink. This is because the Hollywood Production Code at the time would not allow him to be shown getting drunk on film.
Prior to the release of the film, a press release reported that Francis the Talking Mule would make a cameo appearance. James Stewart, as Elwood P. Dowd, was to walk past Francis, and Francis was to "speak". Elwood would turn, in order to respond, but Francis would rebuke him, stating that he was talking to the big rabbit.
In many interviews, James Stewart referred to the role of Elwood P. Dowd as his favourite.
In 1990, James Stewart recorded an introduction to the VHS release of the film, which turned out to be one of the biggest selling videos of the year.
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.
Henry Koster and James Stewart discovered that they worked extremely well together. Koster said later that working with Stewart was "without any doubt one of the most pleasant experiences of my life...It must have been his spirit. There was very little friction, ever, only ambition and craftsmanship and precision, just doing it right professionally. On top of that he put the whipped cream of great talent...He was always the first on the set."
The film did well at the box office, but not quite well enough to recoup its production costs, which had been driven way up with the one million dollar price tag for the rights to the play.
First film project of Fess Parker.
Mary Chase had the idea that film audiences should actually see Harvey at the end of the film because she "didn't want anybody to go out of the theater thinking Elwood is just a lush. He believes in Harvey...and I think the audience ought to believe in Harvey, too." The studio reportedly considered this and experimented with how to show him to the audience, including his appearance in silhouette, and even by attaching a rabbit tail to the taxi driver at the film's conclusion. In the end, however, the studio won out and wisely decided NOT to ruin the illusion. Only once had a giant rabbit actually appeared on stage in the play of Harvey, and the results were disastrous. Theatrical Producer Brock Pemberton recalled in a 1945 interview that at that performance in Boston, "a chill descended on the gathering, which never quite thawed out afterwards."
Universal-International paid $750,000 for the film rights.
Before starring in the film, James Stewart had played Elwood P. Dowd on stage during the role's originator, Frank Fay's, vacation.
Josephine Hull first performed her role in the Broadway version of Harvey. Jesse White also appeared in the original Broadway production and a 1972 television version.
The original Broadway production of "Harvey" by Mary Chase opened on November 1, 1944 at the 48th Street Theatre, ran for 1775 performances and won the Pulitzer Prize in Drama in 1945.
Henry Koster was unable to attend the U.S. premiere of the film because he was working in London on his next picture No Highway in the Sky (1951). Instead, he watched the film in a projection room at the London Universal offices along with James Stewart and Marlene Dietrich.
Twenty years after the film's release, James Stewart played the role of Elwood P. Dowd once again in a triumphant Broadway revival of Harvey in 1970. This time, Helen Hayes played his sister. Stewart and Hayes reprised their roles for a Hallmark Hall of Fame television production in 1972. Stewart reprised the role for the final time in a 1975 stage revival in London.
The play's author Mary Chase and producer Brock Pemberton were to receive $100,000 per year for ten years against one-third of the film's profits, and the start of the film was contractually delayed until the end of the play's run. Pemberton died in March 1950, before the start of the production.
Mary Chase wanted the audience to see Harvey walking with Elwood at the fadeout, because she did not "want anybody to go out of the theater thinking Elwood is just a lush. He believes in Harvey...and I think the audience ought to believe in Harvey, too."
Ranked #7 on the American Film Institute's list of the 10 greatest films in the genre "fantasy" in June 2008.
Among those considered for the role of Elwood P. Dowd were Bing Crosby, Cary Grant, Rudy Vallee, Joe E. Brown (who had also played the part on stage), Gary Cooper, Jack Benny, Jack Haley and James Cagney.
Charles Drake replaced Alex Nichol in the part of Dr. Sanderson when the latter was assigned to _Tomahawk_.
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When speaking with Mrs. Chumley, Elwood describes Harvey as a púca, which is a creature from Irish mythology, and in Celtic as well Nordish myth as well. Referred to as a bringer of either good or bad tidings, a púca can appear in the form of various animals, and sometimes as a human. In most cases, a púca is both friendly and very helpful.
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Dr. and Mrs. Chumley (Cecil Kellaway and Nana Bryant) use a 1942 Cadillac Limousine, the last model sold before the advent of World War 2.
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Harold Lloyd was willing to appear in a film version of the Pulitzer Prize-winning play, and Preston Sturges expressed interest in purchasing the screen rights.
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Although in 2000 producers Harvey and Bob Weinstein announced a planned remake of Harvey, possibly to star John Travolta, as of spring 2005 that project remains unproduced.
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The púca (Irish for spirit/ghost), pooka, phouka, phooka, phooca, puca or púka is primarily a creature of Celtic folklore.[1] Considered to be bringers both of good and bad fortune, they could either help or hinder rural and marine communities. The creatures were said to be shape changers which could take the appearance of black horses, goats and hares. They may also take a human form, which includes various animal features, such as ears or a tail.
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All the vehicles display 1950 Indiana license plates. James Stewart was from the City of Indiana in the state of Pennsylvania, a curious coincidence.
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Spoilers 

The trivia item below may give away important plot points.

When Henry Koster married Peggy Moran in 1941, he promised her he would put her in every movie he made from then on. He did, but it was her statue. Usually it is a sculptured head on a mantelpiece or a piano or desk. In this film, we see the sculptured head of Peggy Moran in the scene (runs for almost 2 minutes without a cut) where Veta Simmons tells Judge Omar Gaffney "Omar, I want you to sue them. They put me in and let Elwood out." In this long take scene, we see the sculptured head of Peggy Moran on the table.

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