#12 in the Reverse Hitchcock project.
Expect the ‘unexpected’ from Hitchcock, goes the tagline, and this gentle comedy-mystery certainly takes a step away from the thrillers, crime stories, and psychodramas Hitchcock had been working on up to now, and in moving backwards through his work this is the first light-hearted film I have encountered.
It’s Shirley MacLaine’s debut, and she is delightful, while Edmund ‘Kris Kringle’ Gwenn is a hoot as the man who thinks he has killed the eponymous Harry, who lies dead while no one seems to care.
This is a film with a vibe of weirdness, a departure in style for its director, with packed sets, rich peripheral characters, and little moments that have nothing to do with Harry, but which keep us entertained.
This film is an example of one which would probably never be made now – there’s no violence to speak of, even though a man is dead, and no gratuitous sex, just a good and witty script (by John Michael Hayes), a glorious VistaVision palette, and a score which is at odds with what we see (for example, when an artist is making a sketch, and even draws Harry’s stockinged feet, without realising at first there is a body there).
If Hitch had directed Twin Peaks, it might have turned out something like this.