The trouble with Harry is that he's dead, won't stay buried, and won't give the inhabitants of a small Vermont village any peace: an elderly sea captain, an old maid, an artist, and the deceased's young widow get involved in the problem of disposing of him, because they all feel guilty about his demise. But Hitchcock loved the project's potential for macabre understatement, so he has the group reacting with cool, callous detachment toward death. There are delights to savour here: Robert Burks' location photography, all russet reds and golds, underlining the theme of death; Bernard Herrmann's spritely score, ironically counterpointing the dark deeds on screen; finely modulated performances from Natwick and (making her film debut) MacLaine. But Hitchcock is reluctant to follow the subversive premises of the story through to their outrageous logical conclusion; the dialogue's sexual innuendoes now seem coy and awkward; the male leads are wooden; the ending too complacent; and the discreet style stranded by that dreaded British restraint so dear to the director. Now, if Buñuel had made it...
Cast and crew