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Harvey-1950


molo14
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Good evening, Grahame's Guy -- I think I can finally talk about Harvey. Have

you seen him, by the way?

 

My first introduction to any kind of theater was via the role of Wilson in my High

School production of Harvey. Sadly, It's been all down hill from there.

 

And those words are perfect for this film.

 

I've read some fairly deep analytical interpretations of the play but to me the film is

pure whimsical fun with a few moral lessons and an overriding theme of acceptance.

 

I agree with you. I do believe the film is about acceptance. I also got the sense of inner

peace, the joy of life, and allowing others to seek their own happiness. It's funny as to

what comes to represent "normal" in life.

 

It is one of Jimmy Stewart's signature roles and he is perfect as Elwood P. Dowd, who

pals around with a pooka named Harvey, who takes the form of a six foot three and a

half inch rabbit. No one can see Harvey except Ellwood and occasionally his sister Veta

played by Josephine Hull. This all becomes too much for Veta who is trying to introduce

her daughter Myrtle Mae into the proper social circles. It gets to the point where Veta

seeks to have Elwood committed to the local sanatorium. This all leads to a good amount

of misidentification and misadventure and great fun for the viewer.

 

Yes, it's sometimes difficult to discern who the "crazy" ones are in life, if you think about

it. And, many times, it's about eye of the beholder. Is there room for different thoughts

and beliefs in life? Those who are different than you, are they to be viewed as

"abnormal"? It's been my experience that those who are different than us end up being

labeled as "abnormal." That is, unless, we are very self-aware of our own "craziness."

 

The film is a sure mood brightener if you're in need of such. One of the things I like

about the film is that it poses the question as to what is normal, what is real and what

is possible. As Elwood tells Doctor Chumley at the sanatorium:

 

Well, I've wrestled with reality for 35 years, Doctor, and I'm happy to state I finally won out

over it.

 

That's definitely one of my favorite quotes in the film. As I'm apt to say, "I'm not going to

grow up."

 

Another great quote from Elwood:

 

Years ago my mother used to say to me, she'd say, "In this world, Elwood, you must

be" - she always called me Elwood - "In this world, Elwood, you must be oh so smart

or oh so pleasant." Well, for years I was smart. I recommend pleasant. You may quote

me. (and I did)

 

And that's another brilliant quote from this film. All you have to do is compare Elwood

(James Stewart) to Dr. Sanderson (Charles Drake). You've got pleasant and "smart."

 

The film is full of wonderful dialog. Some cynics might find it all a little hokey but this

cynic finds it all very insightful. It may not be easily acted upon or even realistic but it

is something to ponder and yes perhaps even aspire to.

 

I didn't find the film to be all that hokey. It's one of the most thought-provoking films I have

ever seen. There's a lot to be found in this film, just like life.

 

The other central character of Veta is played wonderfully by veteran stage actress

Josephine Hull. She is just delightful trying to deal with Elwood, Myrtle Mae, the

doctors at the sanatorium and even Harvey all in a state of ever increasing anxious

befuddlement, yet always striving to maintain the norms of accepted behavior she

clings to.

 

That was wonderfully said, Molo. Veta (Josephine Hull) brings the 30s/40s screwball

comedy to this film. I like your usage of the word "cling," for she is a clinger, to be

sure.

 

Veta worries that Elwood is messing up her life yet she is doing the same to others,

primarily Myrtle Mae (Victoria Horne). Yet, Veta believes she is doing right by

Myrtle Mae.

 

She has some great lines too. When she narrowly escapes her own commitment she

shares the following exchange with family friend Judge Gaffney:

 

Veta: Judge Gaffney, is that all those doctors do in places like that - think about sex?

 

Judge Gaffney:I don't know.

 

Veta: Because if it is they ought to be ashamed of themselves. It's all in their heads

anyway. Why don't they get out and take long walks in the fresh air?

 

You omitted the best part! This is the exchange that made me laugh the most in the film:

 

Veta: Judge Gaffney walked everywhere for years, didn't you, Judge?

 

Myrtle Mae: Did you?

 

Judge Gaffney: I better take some notes on this.

 

harvey1-2.jpg

 

The Judge cannot face the gals. He's ashamed and embarrassed by his sex

drive. And look at Myrtle Mae's laser look to the Judge. She's dying to know

about sex. Ohh, heck, I'm laughing right now!

 

I really liked the relationship between Veta and Judge Omar Gaffney

(William H. Lynn). Omar is clearly in love with Veta. He loves his "girl." You get the

feeling he's been wanting her for years and years. And Veta is oblivious to all this. Yet,

I think she loves him, too, just in a different way. She's always running to him in times

of need. "Kick him! Kick him!" :D

 

and another quote from Veta that shows she understands more than she lets on:

 

I took a course in art last winter. I learned the difference between a fine oil painting, and

a mechanical thing, like a photograph. The photograph shows only the reality. The

painting shows not only the reality, but the dream behind it. It's our dreams, doctor,

that carry us on. They separate us from the beasts. I wouldn't want to go on living if

I thought it was all just eating, and sleeping, and taking my clothes off, I mean putting

them on.

 

Bravo! That is one of the most important pieces of dialogue spoken in the film and it's

fascinating that it comes from Veta. Our dreams do carry us on. Many of us dream

of the same things, but our paintings are different. We are the same but different.

 

And I laughed at the "and taking my clothes off, I mean putting them on" kicker.

Ahhh, Veta.

 

In the end it all comes down to whether Veta truly wants Elwood to conform to her

idea of societal norms even if it changes him forever. It's done with the help of Harvey

and an astute cab driver who tells her:

 

After this he'll be a perfectly normal human being. And you know what stinkers they are!

 

I really like how you wrote that, especially: "conform to her idea of societal norms."

And Elwood is willing to do it for his sister, despite it changing who he is... forever. I found

it interesting that it's a taxi cab driver who gets through to Veta. In the end, Veta chooses

Elwood over herself.

 

This film deals with a lot of what lies in our hearts and dreams. The psychiatrists are

all very sure of themselves on the surface but when pressed the head of the hospital

Dr. Chumley simply wants to go to Akron. The relationship between Elwood and Veta

is well played. She loves her brother very much despite all the distress he causes her

and Elwood is always loyal to Veta.

 

Self-examination. It's so very easy of us to go around saying everyone else is "wrong"

and "abnormal" and be so sure of ourselves. And how do we come to this conclusion?

Because we are "right" and "normal." Right?

 

Are you ready to break this movie down, Molo? Anyone else? I've got PLENTY to say.

 

Well, Harvey and I sit in the bars, have a drink or two, play the jukebox. And soon the

faces of all...all the other people, they turn to mine and they smile. They're

saying, 'we... we don't know your name, mister, but you're a very nice fellow.' Harvey

and I... warm ourselves in all these golden moments. We've entered as strangers. Soon

we have friends. And they come over and sit with us, they drink with us, they talk to

us. They tell about the big, terrible things they've done... and the big wonderful things

they'll do. Their hopes and their regrets, their loves and their hates, all very

large... because nobody ever brings something small into a bar. And then... I introduce

them to Harvey. And he's bigger and grander than anything they offer me. And... and

when they leave, they leave impressed. The same people seldom come back, but

that's envy... envy my dear. There's a little bit of envy in the best of us. That's too

bad, isn't it?

 

harvey3.jpg

 

So what's your take on that monologue?

 

I believe the opening words to the film are very important:

 

harvey2-1.jpg

 

I'd like to examine the different relationships in the film, too. Dr. Sanderson and Nurse

Kelly's (Peggy Dow) is front and center, of course. One small little touch that I really

liked is that Dr. Sanderson calls her "Miss Kelly" or "Nurse Kelly" or "Kelly" throughout

the film except for one time. He always keeps her at a distance, even pushing her way,

by never calling her by her first name, "Ruth."

 

harvey4.jpg

 

harvey5.jpg

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*Are you ready to break this movie down, Molo? Anyone else? I've got PLENTY to say.*

 

Are you challenging us to a Harvey ramble Frank?

 

You hear that Lynn?

 

I'm up for it. Anybody else?

 

Let's all meet down at the corner of 18th and Fairfax and settle this thing once and for all!

 

th_harvey-2.jpg

*Come'on Veta!*

 

Seriously, I'll be back later! :)

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Did I catch of glimpse of Frankie? Was he here talking about a movie he has actually seen?

 

Quick get the smelling salts, I might have a case of the vapors coming on.

 

Big whiff. Hmmm.....much better now.

 

Did I hear rumblings of rumble with Molo and Frankie?

 

Count me in. It'll be later though. Got a date with Doug, Sr on the big screen at the Academy tonight.

 

I'll be back though. I promise. Well, if I don't persuade Kevin Brownlow to hire me that is.

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Wow Grey Guy!!!

 

Very fine post!! You are off to a nice start! I can see already that I just need to do what I have been thinking of doing anyway and go check out a copy of Harvey and rewatch it all myself.

 

I can tell this is going to be one of those times when you are going to dive in head first and I want to be up on all the interesting twists and turns you and others are going to take on here... I will look forward to seeing you get to "rumblin" a little further on Old Elwood and Harvey... et al.

 

It's been my experience that those who are different than us end up being

labeled as "abnormal." That is, unless, we are very self-aware of our own "craziness."

 

So... are you saying that: A) WE are ALL crazy and we should NOT look at anyone else as being ABNORMAL? :

 

OR....

 

B) YOU (and Molo) are the "us" and every one else is labeled as "abnormal" because you are different from them and unaware of your own craziness???????? :P:P:P:P:P

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I love the mysterious/goofy four note "theme" for Harvey: Doo-doo-DO-DOOO.

 

Now I'll make myself an egg and onion, then hit the hay.

 

I hope Jesse White doesn't come knocking at my door.

 

Message was edited by: Bronxgirl48

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Thanks to an earlier post in this thread I can say for sure that I last watched *Harvey* on April 25th of last year. I'm going to go watch it again right now, just for a refresher.

 

If anyone else (Lynn?, April?, anyone?) wants to go ahead and jump in please do. Frank has started the ball rolling. Kathy, I hope you can get a copy.

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Molo,

 

I'll be jumping in- we all know that Frankie fights dirty when he's provoked and he's easily provoked- he'll likely try to throw Gloria Grahame at you to throw you off but I'll have your back.

 

I'm still riding high from Doug, Sr in *The Iron Mask*. I'll probably post something about that in the next couple of days as well.

 

And though I'll be hanging around here instead of going to England, Kevin Brownlow ROCKS!

 

More to come!

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Hey, Molo the Magnificent -- Are you challenging us to a Harvey ramble Frank?

 

You got it!

 

You hear that Lynn?

 

She better.

 

Let's all meet down at the corner of 18th and Fairfax and settle this thing once and for all!

 

You know where I'll be. I'll wait for y'all to show up.

 

harvey6.jpg

 

Hey there, Lynn -- Did I catch of glimpse of Frankie? Was he here talking about

a movie he has actually seen?

 

That wasn't me. Are you talking to your pooka... again?

 

Quick get the smelling salts, I might have a case of the vapors coming on.

 

I think you're spiffed.

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Howdy, Quiet Gal! -- Very fine post!! You are off to a nice start! I can see already

that I just need to do what I have been thinking of doing anyway and go check out a

copy of Harvey and rewatch it all myself.

 

I can tell this is going to be one of those times when you are going to dive in head first

and I want to be up on all the interesting twists and turns you and others are going to

take on here... I will look forward to seeing you get to "rumblin" a little further on Old

Elwood and Harvey... et al.

 

You are right about me diving head first into this one. I took two pages of notes while

watching Harvey last night. That's a first for me. I didn't want to post everything

at once, so I decided to reply to Molo's initial post, which was very good. I also liked

what Konway wrote, but I haven't seen them around, so I didn't reply to their words.

 

So... are you saying that: A) WE are ALL crazy and we should NOT look at anyone

else as being ABNORMAL?

 

No. I just think it can be very relative. We all say things like, "what are they crazy?" If you

lived in a crazy house, normal would be abnormal. You know, you like your place. :P

 

Recently, I went out to dinner with my country grandma. As we were finishing up our

meal, I noticed my grandma looking at a man in his 20s, who stood up and went to

pay the bill. This man was wearing camouflage pants and a beret. My grandma said to

me, "the jerk." Why would she say that? Well, she was bothered by his wearing an

earring. Normal? Abnormal?

 

B) YOU (and Molo) are the "us" and every one else is labeled as "abnormal" because

you are different from them and unaware of your own craziness????????

 

You already know Molo is sane and that I'm insane. Molo works well with me for this very

reason.

 

By the way, I do agree with you, I do believe there are dark undertones with Harvey,

and I'm sure we will be discussing them.

 

Did you catch your proxy in Harvey? Here ya go:

 

harvey7.jpg

 

Shopping cart... wrench, it's all the same. :D

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> I'm still riding high from Doug, Sr in The Iron Mask. I'll probably post something about that in the next couple of days as well.

 

That really sounds like a great show, I'm sure everyone here is looking forward to hearing more about it!

 

Getting back to the thread topic, there is one important element that I believe has gone unmentioned (even by some self-professed admirers of Germanic influences in cinema) and that is the fact that *Harvey* was directed by Henry Koster, a Jewish director who was born in Germany and had to flee his homeland after the Nazis came to power, and had some personal experiences with violent persecution. (Those who have never experienced the horrors of brutal persecution generally do not realize how easy they have it in life).

 

Some believe that there was a recurring theme in many of Koster's movies, involving individuals and their struggles in totalitarian societies, or against repressive forces in society, their need to speak the truth as they see it.

 

Thus, perhaps it should not be surprising if one of the underlying themes in *Harvey* is the need for some tolerance towards those who, for whatever reason, don't see the world the same way as everybody else, or who have some eccentricities that aren't easy to explain away.

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Hello there, Mr. Grey....

 

I took two pages of notes while watching Harvey last night. That's a first for me.

 

Ha. You sound like me.. I do that sometimes too.... I have all these little scraps of old envelopes and post it notes, that have all my many musings about certain films.. Hey... do you think that means we are... "abnormal?" Ha.

 

Why would she say that? Well, she was bothered by his wearing an earring. Normal? Abnormal?

 

Well... I am sure each generation has it's on standard... "normal" sometimes comes in layers.

 

You already know Molo is sane and that I'm insane. Molo works well with me for this very

reason.

 

Well............ Ok. I will go w/ you on this one... Molo is sane and you are insane... ha. At least until Molo is proved otherwise... Ha!! Kidding Molo.... Just kidding!!!!!!!! :P

 

Shopping cart... wrench, it's all the same

 

hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha and HA!

 

I am going out to the shed and getting the biggest wrench I can find... and then I will have BOTH... (The longer I hang around here.... the more "crazy" characters I seem to find.... and it pays to be prepared!) :P

 

I will look forward to hearing more from you on all of this.

 

PS... MOLO.. I am pretty sure I will be able to get this one soon, I have seen it at the library on a couple of different occassions.

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Are you ready to break this movie down, Molo? Anyone else? I've got PLENTY to say.

 

Great... I show up at the corner of 18th and Fairfax... just like Molo said... and here I am just me, myself, and I...

 

Oh wait... here's someone now, leaning up against that lamp post..

 

Why, um, yes. Yes, I agree... that Mr. Grimes certainly WAS spiffed....

 

Oh yes... I'm just waiting around here too. My friends and I are supposed to have a chat about this movie we've been watching and...

 

What's that?? You are tired of martinis but you've been hankering for a nice tall glass of iced tea and a slice of chocolate cake?? Well.. what a coincidence. That's been on my mind too..ever since I got back from the library today...

 

Let's go have some cake just up the street at this little cafe I know... and in the meantime maybe some of my friends will show up ...

 

Say... I don't think I caught your name... What? Your name is Kathy?? Well.. what a coincidence.. so is MINE...

 

(guess this pooka has decided to hang around a crackpot instead of a rumpot....) :P

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That was terrific, Kathy Krackpot! I guess we're both waiting for the rumpot. And, you're

right, I'm always spiffed. How do you think I put up with all the snippiness? :D

 

If you wish to write anything about the film or reply to my words or the words of others, go

for it. If I don't answer you tonight, I will certainly do so tomorrow night.

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Kathy Krackpot

 

That's me all over!! Ha.

 

I will just say for now that I really enjoyed getting to see this one again... I have a whole new appreciation for Veta and her relationship with Elwood... and also her relationship with Harvey too...

 

I will wait til you or others have chimed in as I don't want to steer the conversation too far one way or the other yet.. Plus I want to go in a little more to some of the older posts here and give them a closer read..

 

But I have to say... I am looking forward to hearing more of your thoughts and what sort of notes you took... and to hearing what others have to say too..

 

Oh... and P. S.... the kiddling now has a new favorite song...

 

"Hop hop hop hop... hippety hop!!"

 

HA!! I had TOTALLY forgotten about that part!! :-)

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I guess we're both waiting for the rumpot.

 

Hey! Is that me??? Why I haven't been spiffed in hours!! :)

 

Kathy, that was hilarious.

 

Veta and I actually did get sidetracked on our way down to 18th and Fairfax!

 

Talk about spiffed!!

 

Have you guys ever taken a good look at what she carries around in that pocketbook?

 

normal_HARVEY-770-1.jpg?t=1238041854

 

Oh I kid Veta, but seriously, I'm so sorry for being so late to my own rumble...I mean ramble.

 

I have a pocketful of excuses!!!

 

It's a work thing! I'll be finished hopefully tomorrow. I really want to reply to Frank while it's all still fresh for me.

 

Did you see Lynn down there?

 

Was she spiffed too??

 

A thousand pardons!! I'll be down at the corner tomorrow night I promise. Really!

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Did you see Lynn down there? Was she spiffed too??

 

When is she not? She's got three pookas. Well, actually, one. She sees three pookas.

 

I have a pocketful of excuses!!!

 

For shame! You'd never, ever, never, ever hear me roll out an excuse.

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>I have all these little scraps of old envelopes and post it notes, that have all my many musings about certain films.. Hey... do you think that means we are... "abnormal?" Ha.

 

I sometimes take notes too. I found that if you are going to play in this league you have ot be prepared. I guess I need to dig out "Harvey" now too. I am so behind.

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Hiya Chris... glad to hear Frank and I are not the only "abnormal" notetakers out there.. Ha.

 

I don't do this with every movie by the way... In fact.. I RARELY take notes on a movie I am watching for the first time because I don't want to get distracted by my "note taking". I just do this sometimes when I want to dig a little deeper in a story. It helps me to organize my thoughts a little more... and goodness knows... My thoughts NEED a lot of help!! Ha. :-)

 

I guess I need to dig out "Harvey" now too. I am so behind.

 

SLACKER!!! Ha. :-) Seriously... Hope you will get caught up sometime... you always have an interesting take on things. Start "digging" and go find that rabbit! :-)

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