The Trouble with Harry (1955)
Main Menu Audio
Trailer-Trailer Compilation (6:14)
Theatrical Trailer-1.33:1, not 16x9, Dolby Digital 2.0 (2:26)
|Year Of Production||1955|
|RSDL / Flipper||RSDL (77:58)||Cast & Crew|
|Start Up||Language Select Then Menu|
|Region Coding||2,4||Directed By||Alfred Hitchcock|
Universal Pictures Home Video
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||
English Dolby Digital 2.0 mono (192Kb/s)
German Dolby Digital 2.0 mono (192Kb/s)
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||1.85:1|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.85:1||Miscellaneous|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
The trouble with Harry is that he is dead. Now that would not be too much of an issue except that he is discovered out in the woods by Captain Albert Wiles (Edmund Gwenn), who has been out doing a spot of slightly illegal shooting. Since he was shooting in the woods and Harry Worp (Philip Treux) appears to have been shot, Captain Wiles makes the rather reasonable assumption that one of his three rather wild shots must have killed Harry. Since there seems to be no one around, he decides to do the honourable thing and bury the poor deceased Harry. However, before he can do so, the isolated spot in the woods suddenly becomes busier than Grand Central Station. Amongst the visitors are virtually the entire population of the small village of Highwater: young Arnie Rogers (Jerry Mathers) who runs off to tell his mother, local spinster Miss Ivy Gravely (Mildred Natwick) and Arnie's mother Jennifer (Shirley MacLaine), plus eventually Sam Marlowe (John Forsythe), the local artist. The latter two hold the key to the story but they aren't too keen to reveal them and indeed both are almost thrilled that Captain Wiles intends to bury the deceased. Indeed, Miss Gravely is so happy, she invites Captain Wiles to afternoon tea as the first man to break the no-man barrier at her home. Slowly but surely, the full story is revealed but it still centres around the poor deceased Harry, who spends the day being buried and unburied.
This is a nicely done little story, with some delightful pieces of comedy both verbal and visual. The only slight downer is the handling of the sudden romantic twinge in the story - it was simply not really there and then suddenly there as the centre of the film.
This story was brought to life by a very good cast. Edmund Gwenn is terrific as the poor suffering Captain Wiles, who suddenly acquires a lifetime of grave digging experience in a single day. He provides a sparkling performance that swings across a range of emotions with delightful ease. Matching his performance is a great one from Mildred Natwick, the oh-so-grateful spinster. Shirley MacLaine, an actress I have little time for, is actually quite decent here and is very aptly cast, whilst John Forsythe is terribly reliable as the artist. The whole thing was well-stirred by Alfred Hitchcock, proving that he was not just a master of one genre. He had a real deft touch here and I would hazard a guess that the maestro's famed sense of humour found much of its way into this film!
This really is a terrific film and one that I believe is sadly underrated. I would rank it far superior to say Shadow Of A Doubt, but then again my views as far as The Hitchcock Collection Volume One is concerned are somewhat at variance to those expressed by others it seems. I really wish that this film was given a separate release, for it would enable people who did not want the whole collection to be able to obtain this very worthy comedy.
This is a nicely sharp transfer in general with just a few odd lapses to soft focus, not entirely unconnected with the presence of Shirley MacLaine on-screen it seems. This is another transfer where detail is hampered a little by some scenes having little depth in the background and looking a little false, but the on-location shots look really good. Overall though, this is a nicely detailed film that holds up better in comparison to most of the others in the collection. Shadow detail goes somewhat awry during the dusk/night scenes when they are burying Harry for some reason, as in the featurette they come across much lighter and more detailed in tone. However, apart from that sequence there is nothing much wrong with the shadow detail. Grain was not an issue in the transfer, and this is a pretty clear transfer. There did not appear to be any problems with low level noise in the transfer. Overall, I was quite impressed with this transfer, visually the best I think of the efforts in this collection.
After a couple of black and white films, it is very pleasing to return to this rather nice colour transfer. Unusually for a Technicolor film of this era, the colours are if anything just a little undersaturated, which I find a rather pleasant change. This especially considering that any oversaturation was going to turn those lovely Vermont autumn colours into overly garish colours that would have looked pretty terrible. So with the slight undersaturation, we end up with a rather nice looking transfer that is colourful without being especially vibrant, and arguably the best looking of all the transfers in this collection. There is nothing much approaching oversaturation here at all, and colour bleed was not an issue. The only real point of note is that the exterior shots were done in Vermont, but they then moved to California and did most of the scenes involving the burying of Harry on a set. You will notice that there is a slight difference in colour as a result, but nothing really huge.
There did not appear to be any significant MPEG artefacts in the transfer. The did not appear to be any significant film-to-video artefacts in the transfer. Whilst broadly speaking this is a relatively clean transfer, there are nonetheless a few noticeable dirt marks to be found here.
This is an RSDL formatted DVD with the layer change coming at 77:58. It is perfect! Right bang in the middle of a black scene change, with no audio intrusion to highlight what is for all intents and purposes an almost undetectable layer change. I suppose after all the practice they had, they were bound to get one spot-on in the collection.
The dialogue comes up well in the transfer and is easy to understand. There did not appear to be any serious audio sync problems in the transfer.
The original music score for the film comes from Bernard Herrmann, and it is a good one indeed. Featuring some scatty sounding music that superbly supports the quirky, black comedy, this is deserving of an isolated music score. The film would not have been anywhere near as good without the music score.
Rather boringly, this is again up to the standard of the soundtracks set by the other DVDs in the box set and nothing at all to complain about. A rather nice mono sound is offered here, quite a relaxed sounding effort that is wonderfully conducive for the witty dialogue on offer. This is free of any distortions or other blemishes.
|Surround Channel Use|
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
|DVD||Pioneer DV-515, using S-Video output|
|Display||Sony Trinitron Wega (80cm). Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.|
|Speakers||Energy Speakers: centre EXLC; left and right C-2; rears EXLR; and subwoofer ES-12XL|