- 1 hr 44 min
The 1950 classic film Harvey, starring James Stewart, Wallace Ford, and William H. Lynn, is a heartwarming tale about a man named Elwood P. Dowd, who is known around town for his friendly and affable nature, as well as his constant companion: an invisible six-foot-tall rabbit named Harvey. The film opens with Elwood (played beautifully by James Stewart) walking down a street in the small town of Ridgemont, accompanied by Harvey, whom he introduces to anyone who will listen. Most people in Ridgemont dismiss Elwood as a harmless eccentric, but his society-minded sister Veta (Josephine Hull) is mortified by his behavior and decides to have him committed to a sanitarium in hopes of curing him of his delusion.
However, things quickly go awry when Veta herself ends up in the sanitarium instead of her brother, leading to a hilarious series of misunderstandings and mistaken identities. As the truth about Harvey slowly begins to unravel, the staff at the sanitarium must decide whether to help Elwood embrace his quirks and accept Harvey's existence, or try to force him to conform to societal norms.
Throughout the film, James Stewart delivers a masterful performance as Elwood, imbuing the character with a sense of genuine kindness and compassion that makes it impossible not to root for him. Wallace Ford also shines as Elwood's closest friend, a bartender named Charlie who is torn between helping Elwood and protecting his own reputation.
But perhaps the real star of the film is Harvey himself, whose presence is felt throughout despite his lack of physical form on screen. Through Elwood's descriptions of Harvey's antics and the reactions of those around him, we come to understand why the rabbit has become such an important character in the lives of everyone who knows Elwood.
The film's themes of acceptance and individuality were ahead of their time in many ways, and the way it handles mental illness is surprisingly thoughtful and nuanced for a movie from the 1950s. The script, adapted from a Pulitzer Prize-winning play by Mary Chase, is witty and charming, and director Henry Koster does a great job of bringing the story to life on screen.
All in all, Harvey is a delightful film that has stood the test of time for good reason. Its message of embracing the quirks and unconventional aspects of those around us is as relevant today as it was when the movie was first released, and Stewart's performance as Elwood is not to be missed. Whether you're familiar with the story or experiencing it for the first time, Harvey is a classic film that's well worth watching.
Harvey is a 1950 comedy with a runtime of 1 hour and 44 minutes. It has received mostly positive reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 7.9.