Both of these pictures turned out to be Movies I’ve Missed (Until Now). I’m not sure how I managed not to see so many famous movies . . .
THE TROUBLE WITH HARRY is a gorgeous film, full of beautiful autumn scenery in Vermont. Dropped down right in the middle of it is a murder mystery, with a dead body found in the woods. The victim could have been killed by any number of people who turn out to have unexpected connections with him, and they keep burying and digging up Harry (the dead guy) for a number of screwball reasons. This is a comedy more than anything else and actually is pretty funny in places, but it’s more of a “This is a really weird movie” funny than laugh-out-loud funny. It also has a good cast, being the film debut of Shirley MacLaine as well as featuring performances by Edmund Gwenn (very odd seeing Santa Claus without the beard), John Forsythe (most famous for DYNASTY, probably, but he’ll always be BACHELOR FATHER to me), and Jerry Mathers (not yet The Beaver). I think this is a likable film, not great but fairly entertaining.
MARNIE is another one I’d heard a lot about but never seen. Tippi Hedren, another of Hitchcock’s icy blondes, is a compulsive thief with a host of other psychological problems who winds up being blackmailed into marriage by the head of a publishing company (played by Sean Connery, not long after he started being James Bond) who discovers her secret. It’s pretty slow-moving and the big reveal at the end is easy to guess, but it still held my interest all the way through. I generally like Sean Connery’s work, and he’s pretty good in this one. Tippi Hedren is much more inconsistent, fine in some scenes but not very believable in others. Bruce Dern shows up late in a small but pivotal role. I think this is regarded as one of Hitchcock’s lesser movies, but I thought it was okay.
More Hitchcock coming up, but probably not for a while.
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