A French intelligence agent becomes embroiled in the Cold War politics first with uncovering the events leading up to the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis, and then back to France to break up an international Russian spy ring.
There is a dead well-dressed man in a meadow clearing in the hills above a small Vermont town. Captain Albert Wiles, who stumbles across the body and finds by the man's identification that his name is Harry Worp, believes he accidentally shot Harry dead while he was hunting rabbits. Captain Wiles wants to hide the body as he feels it is an easier way to deal with the situation than tell the authorities. While Captain Wiles is in the adjacent forest, he sees other people stumble across Harry, most of whom don't seem to know him or care or notice that he's dead. One person who does see Captain Wiles there is spinster Ivy Gravely, who vows to keep the Captain's secret about Harry. Captain Wiles also Secretly sees a young single mother, Jennifer Rogers, who is the one person who does seem to know Harry and seems happy that he's dead. Later, another person who stumbles across both Harry and Captain Wiles is struggling artist Sam Marlowe, to who Captain Wiles tells the entire story of what ... Written by
The drawings behind the opening credits are by artist Saul Steinberg, reportedly echoing elements of paintings by Paul Klee, whose work Hitchcock collected. Steinberg received no on-screen credit. See more »
When I first saw this years ago it was on a little television screen and the whole experience left me baffled. I saw it this time on a large, good quality projection and I had the same experience. What a frivolous, boring movie!
It has charms, for sure, including the whole exaggerated Vermont setting in all its idyllic small town beauty. (The movie premiered in Barre, Vermont.) And it is, truly, lightly humorous throughout, so yes, call it a comedy. But so little happens it gets maddening. It feels mostly like a Hitchcock Presents television production stretched into a full length movie. It's not a coincidence that the premier of that t.v. series was October, 1955, just as filming was under way for The Trouble with Harry. Initial shooting took a month that fall, with some later fill-in shooting at the end of the year.
Here Hitchcock uses (with great fanfare) the new Vistavision very widescreen format, and full Technicolor. You might think the movie was just a way to dip into the mid 1950s revelation in big, colorful cinema. And along those lines, cinematographer Robert Burks makes the most of autumn in Vermont with some beautiful location shooting. And the ticklish music by Bernard Herrmann is, as usual, perfect. Burks was already a longtime favorite of Hitchcock, but this was the first of many collaborations with Herrmann.
But the plot, and the acting (including a couple of respectable names like Shirley MacLaine, though Hitchcock hasn't always wanted the very best from his women leads) are flat and slow. Suspense? Not a bit. That's not the point. The movie flopped here in the U.S. but was a success in the U.K. so maybe, just maybe, we Yanks just don't get the humor.
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