Being more familiar with Johan Kaart's tough but funny appearances as police officers in "Ciske de Rat" (1955) and "Rififi in Amsterdam" (1962) it is a bit startling to see his high-pitched, manic performance in "Herrie om Harry" The title can best be translated as 'Harry causes a lot of noise" and noisy is right. Title character Harrie Links seems to be raising his voice continuously and is always exasperating others by causing mix-ups and misunderstandings. Each episode sees Harry inadvertably causing havoc everywhere he goes and to everyone he meets.
In 1963 Willy van Hemert adapted the at the time very successful (but now almost completely forgotten) British sit-com "Here's Harry" into Dutch. Unusually, he decided to keep the setting in England, but changed the location to London instead of the fictional town of Woodbridge. So, instead of a bumbling Englishman the show centered around a bumbling Dutch poet living abroad. This of course provided an extra level of misunderstanding between Harry and the rest of the characters, all of whom spoke Dutch of course. One exception was Sacco van der Made as a milkman in one episode, who seemed to alternate between an American accent and a Rotterdam one.
Willy took seven scripts by Frank Roscoe and Vince Powell from the second and third series of "Here's Harry" and adapted them for NCRV television with running times ranging between 35 and 44 minutes. There was no studio audience and no laugh-track, but an impressive amount of studio bound sets complete with English signs all over the place. However the series did not catch on and was canceled after a single season. It is now even less well remembered than the original series that inspired it. However, it still survives intact in the archives of the institute of Beeld & Geluid even though there are probably not a lot of people who would care to seek it out and watch it on a tiny monitor over there.
Recenlty my favourite digital channel Hilversum Best repeated the entire series without any fanfare or announcements, as is their wont. It really is rather a bit too predictable and the character of Harry Links is more annoying than anything else, but as a piece of Dutch Television history, it was good to see it pop up out of the archives once more, especially to see the familiar faces in guest starring roles. It also prompted this commenter to pull out some Filmmuseum DVD's starring Johan Kaart to get a greater appreciation of his work. It really is a shame the man has been almost forgotten, though there is still an award being given out that bares his name, for best comedy or musical performance since 1975. Funnily enough, each winner is allowed to keep the award (a bronze likeness of Kaart's face) but must pass on the red wooden chest it comes in, so the name of each new winner added to it.
7 out of 10
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