Palatable: The Trouble with Harry

The Trouble with Harry (1955)
Directed by Alfred Hitchcock
Written by Jack Trevor Story, John Michael Hayes
Produced by Alfred Hitchcock, Herbert Coleman
Starring Edmund Gwenn, John Forsythe, Shirley MacLaine, Mildred Natwick, Mildred Dunnock, Jerry Mathers, Royal Dano, Dwight Marfield, Philip Truex, Barry Macollum
He's quite dead, and an eventual onus upon nearly all the denizens of a rural town who happen upon him: a venturesome little boy (Mathers), both an affable, retired marine captain (Gwenn) convinced that he accidentally greased the corpse and the genteel spinster (Natwick) sweet for him, the deceased's unflappably feisty widow (MacLaine) relieved by his quietus, a distrait physician and bookworm (Marfield), one hobo (Macollum) who relieves the cadaver (Truex) of his footwear and an ostentatious artist (Forsythe) whose largess is only matched and motivated by his curiosity. American audiences a half-century ago didn't cotton to the drollery of cunning jest and repeated inhumations in Hitchcock's sable farce, but its dry balance of tender grace and gallows humor mark this romp as one of his better middling pics. Deceit recedes as romance blooms among the quirky quartet composing Harry's informal cortege as they cope with his corpse under suspicion of a gormless, meddlesome deputy sheriff and gearhead (Dano) in an uncharacteristically understated and smartly played production highlighted by the pastoral beauty of autumnal Vermont and one of Hermann's most hauntingly playful scores -- the first of his most fruitful collaboration. Perhaps no more popular for its deadpan modesty now than upon its release, this Trouble is still worth screening for any fond of jet-black comedy, and necessarily required viewing for The Master's fans.

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