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Harvey (1972)

Elwood P. Dowd's constant companion is Harvey, a six-foot tall invisible rabbit. To his sister, his obsession with Harvey has been a thorn in her plans to marry off her daughter. However, ... See full summary »

Director:

Fielder Cook

Writers:

Mary Chase (play), Jacqueline Babbin (adaptation) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Cast overview:
Marian Hailey Marian Hailey ... Myrtle Mae Simmons
Helen Hayes ... Veta Louise Simmons
James Stewart ... Elwood P. Dowd
Dorothy Blackburn Dorothy Blackburn ... Mrs. Ethel Chauvenet
Madeline Kahn ... Nurse Ruth Kelly
Jesse White ... Duane Wilson
Richard Mulligan ... Dr. Lyman Sanderson
John McGiver ... Dr. William R, Chumley
Arlene Francis ... Betty Chumley
Martin Gabel ... Judge Omar Gaffney
Fred Gwynne ... Cab Driver
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Storyline

Elwood P. Dowd's constant companion is Harvey, a six-foot tall invisible rabbit. To his sister, his obsession with Harvey has been a thorn in her plans to marry off her daughter. However, when she decides to put Elwood in a mental institution, a mix-up occurs, and she finds herself committed instead. It's now up to Elwood and "Harvey" to straighten out the mess. Written by J Rice

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Comedy | Fantasy

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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

21 March 1972 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Hallmark Hall of Fame: Harvey (#21.5) See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

James Stewart has said that he was more satisfied with his performance as Elwood P. Dowd in this film than he was in the more famous 1950 screen version (Harvey (1950)). See more »

Quotes

Veta Louise Simmons: All of those women have grandsons. It's a beginning. You have to meet somebody. That's all there is to it.
Myrtle Mae Simmons: And when I do, they say: "That's Myrtle Mae Simmons. Her uncle is Elwood P. Dowd, the biggest nut in town. Elwood P. Dowd and his pal, Harvey". That damn Harvey!
Veta Louise Simmons: Myrtle Mae! You said that name. You promised you wouldn't say that name and you said it.
Myrtle Mae Simmons: Sorry, Mama.
Veta Louise Simmons: Elwood is the biggest heartache I have but he's still my brother. And he won't be here this afternoon.
Myrtle Mae Simmons: Are you sure?
Veta Louise Simmons: Of course ...
[...]
See more »

Connections

Version of Mein Freund Harvey (1970) See more »

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User Reviews

Pitiful Pookah

The definitive production of the Pulitzer Prize-winning play "Harvey" is the 1950 film version, starring James Stewart as Elwood P. Dowd. Stewart knew a good role; over the next two decades, he continued to play Dowd onstage in the United States and in London ... on several occasions persuading Helen Hayes to co-star as Veta Louise. Miss Hayes had previously starred on Broadway in a flop comedy-fantasy called "Mrs McThing", by the same playwright who wrote "Harvey". Hayes was less enamoured of "Harvey" than James Stewart was (possibly because her role isn't nearly as good as his), and Stewart had increasing difficulty persuading her to join him in subsequent revivals of "Harvey".

The 1972 TV version of "Harvey" is competently done ... but, really, why bother? The film version is better. The film version successfully "opens up" the play, whilst this TV version is still painfully stagebound.

Jesse White, an excellent character actor, who played the asylum attendant Wilson in the original Broadway cast of "Harvey" and in the film version, repeats his role here. (For some reason, Wilson's forename has been changed for this TV version.) White was a very talented actor, but by 1972 he was too old to be playing a strong-armer who subdues maniacs. The scene in which he looks up the word "pookah" in the dictionary is too slow, and not funny at all. Marian Hailey (who?) is a complete waste of space as Myrtle Mae, admittedly an uninteresting role.

Fred Gwynne (who appeared with Helen Hayes in the Broadway cast of "Mrs McThing") is a surprising choice to play the small but pivotal role of Lofgren, the cab driver in the play's final scene. Gwynne gives an excellent performance here; it's a shame that he will be best remembered as Herman Munster rather than for his wide range of stage roles.

The best performance in this TV version of "Harvey" is that of John McGiver, as Dr Cholmondeley. McGiver was a character actor who (with very rare exceptions) basically spent his whole career giving variations of the same performance ... but that performance is always hilarious and delightful to watch. McGiver is very good here in his few scenes.

I've never understood the appeal of Helen Hayes. The so-called "First Lady of the American Stage" (a title which was hung on her by a Hollywood radio show) has never impressed me in any of her roles. Her performance here is much too subdued (even in the "white slaver" scene), and she definitely drags down the pace of this production of "Harvey". Even worse is Madeline Kahn's shrill, nasal performance in a small role as a nurse.

If you've only got room in your life for ONE giant invisible white rabbit, I urge you to skip this TV version of "Harvey" and rent the movie instead.


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