Alfred Hitchcock’s The Trouble With Harry has all of the trappings of your normal Hitchcock film, including a puzzle, a lifeless body, a beautiful young girl, and also a darkly handsome top man. But it has one thing which The Birds, Psycho, Vertigo, and Hitchcock’s other terror offerings don’t: comedy–and plenty of it.
The 1955 dark humor about a pesky corpse might not be among Hitchcock’s most well-known movies, but it has developed a cult following–and Hitch himself always had a soft spot for it. Here are 15 things you need to understand concerning The Trouble With Harry.
1. BEFORE IT WAS A FILM, THE TROUBLE WITH HARRY WAS A SHORT COMIC NOVEL.
As with lots of his films, Alfred Hitchcock found his inspiration from a publication. Unlike many of the other job, but this one was a humorous book–not a horror or thriller. He managed to purchase the rights for just $11,000 by keeping his identity a mystery. When he tried to revive the rights some years after–for free–author John Trevor Story fought, he had “no purpose of keeping Alfred Hitchcock in his older age”
2. IT WAS A BOX OFFICE FLOP.
Apparently people were not interested in Hitchcockian humor at the time: Despite how it was made on a little budget, the film dropped $500,000 at the box office. Yet, it was one of Hitchcock’s favorite movies.
3. IT WAS SHIRLEY MACLAINE’S FILM DEBUT.
She might be a Hollywood legend today, but in 1955, Shirley MacLaine had been an ingenue chorus woman. Though Hitchcock had desired his mainstay Grace Kelly at the role, she was unavailable. He considered French actress Brigitte Auber, but did not need to mess with her own accent. A manufacturer mentioned he had noticed The Pajama Game on Broadway and has been particularly impressed with a young chorus girl who stepped to the lead role for one night. Hitchcock interviewed her found MacLaine absolutely magic–but he also enjoyed the idea of directing someone that hadn’t acted in films before. “All this simply means is that I will have fewer bad pitches to untie,” he informed her when he first hired her.
4. STUDIO HEADS CALLED MACLAINE TO TELL HER TO STOP EATING SO MUCH.
Not everyone was charmed by MacLaine. Horrifyingly, the celebrity was subject to a call from the president of Paramount, who was unhappy with her appearance after reviewing movie. She’d gained some weight over the duration of shooting, thanks in part to this terrific meals she shared with Hitchcock every single moment. “He knew I was just from this chorus, so that I hadn’t eaten,” she stated. Studio heads observed, also called to tell her to stop undermining her career. In a second meeting, she remembered, “that I believe that the term was ‘blimp. ”’
5. THE MOVIE NEARLY KILLED HITCHCOCK.
Although you may expect something to go awry on one of Hitch’s scarier collections, The Trouble With Harry has been the one that nearly did him. He was on location in Vermont once a mount holding an 850-pound VistaVision camera unit snapped. The unit slid to the floor, clipping Hitch from the shoulder and then pinning a team member to the floor. Had he had been standing a few inches Hitchcock would have been a goner.
6. IT WAS PARTIALLY SHOT IN A GYMNASIUM.
Vermont, of course, is remarkably picturesque, and Hitchcock intended to picture everything on place. But the weather did not always collaborate, or so the crew had to build sets at a nearby gymnasium. That did not work very well, possibly; when it rained, which was frequently, the drops off the tin roof of this building, destroying takes.
7. HITCHCOCK DISCOVERED JERRY MATHERS BEFORE THE REST OF THE WORLD DID.
The director cast then-unknown child actor Jerry Mathers as MacLaine’s highlighting boy, little Arnie. Two decades afterwards, Mathers would land the part that educated him in tv history: Beaver Cleaver on Leave it to Beaver.
8. JOHN FORSYTHE, ON THE OTHER HAND, WAS ALREADY WELL-KNOWN.
Forsythe already had a excellent career under his belt when he signed on to play the part of Sam, but the characters that would come to define him would come along later in his career: He was the voice of Charlie on Charlie’s Angels, also played Blake Carrington on Dynasty.
9. RESHOOTS WERE PARTICULARLY DIFFICULT.
When Hitchcock later determined he had more shots of Harry’s corpse from the leaves, there were two problems: No corpse without the leaves. Philip Truex, the actor who played Harry, was unavailable for reshoots, also of course, L.A. leaves are not really the same as Vermont leaves.
To fix the Harry issue, a dual was cast, his head hidden by a bush from the shooter to disguise the gap. The foliage problem was complex–Hitch ended up with boxes of autumn leaves sent by Vermont, then had several bad assistants pin them on trees.
10. IT WAS THE START OF HITCHCOCK’S ASSOCIATION WITH “FUNERAL MARCH OF THE MARIONETTE.”
Composer Bernard Herrmann proceeded to evaluate lots of Hitchcock’s movies, such as North by Northwest (1959), Vertigo (1958), and Psycho (1960). But he left one of his most lasting gifts with The Trouble With Harry, though audiences not heard it. Herrmann temporarily tried”Funeral March of the Marionette” as the music for the opening credits. Though they ultimately used another song, “Funeral March of the Marionette” will later be utilised as one of the most well-known theme tunes ever: Alfred Hitchcock Presents.
11. THE MOVIE’S WORLD PREMIERE WAS HELD IN VERMONT.
Paying homage to the shooting place, Hitchcock arranged for its premiere to occur at a small movie theatre at Barre, Vermont. As you might imagine, the city was delighted to roll out the red carpet for the Hollywood cast and crew. Based to the Barre Times, they were fed with a Vermont-themed meal, such as freshly pressed apple cider, sliced Maine lobster with drawn butter, prepared based on the Vermont recipe which won the New England Lobster Contest at 1954;” and “tossed Vermont harvest lettuce,” among other Vermont-y products. They also introduced MacLaine using a red rose corsage “on behalf of the people of Barre,” and gave Hitchcock a Vermont map made from granite.
12. IT INSPIRED HITCH TO PROMOTE VERMONT TOURISM.
When the film premiered nationwide, moviegoers were treated to a distinctive opening movie: A three-minute promotional brief, directed by Hitchcock, known as “Vermont that the Beautiful.”
13. THE FILM WAS ONCE KNOWN AS ONE OF THE FIVE LOST HITCHCOCKS.
Along with Vertigo, The Man Who Knew Too Much, Rope, and Rear Window,The Trouble With Harry was among those five movies Hitchcock himself bought the rights toand chose, for various reasons, to keep to himself. When he died, he left the rights of his daughter, Patricia, who was imminent with circulating them.
14. AS USUAL, THERE’S A CAMEO BY HITCHCOCK.
Hitchcock shows up in the majority of his films, if just for a second or 2. But this cameo is really blink-and-you’ll-miss-it–that is him at the trench jacket behind the vehicle.
15. THERE’S A SINGLE LINE THAT CAPTURES THE SPIRIT OF the Entire MOVIE.
Throughout a series of interviews for François Truffaut’s book Hitchcock, Hitch informed that the French director that one simple bit of dialogue from the film sums up the Entire thing:
“One of the greatest lines is when older Edmund Gwenn is pulling on the body along for the very first time and a girl comes to him and says, ‘What seems to be the problem, captain?’ In my experience, that is terribly amusing; that is the soul of the entire story.”