The Trouble with Harry (1955) - Rotten Tomatoes

The Trouble with Harry (1955)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

The Trouble with Harry Trailers & Photos

Movie Info

The trouble with Harry is that he's dead. The scene is a autumnal Vermont village, where a pre-Leave It to Beaver Jerry Mathers stumbles upon Harry's corpse in the woods. Mathers alerts his mother Shirley MacLaine (making her film debut), who recognizes Harry as her ex-husband. Later on, retired sea captain Edmund Gwenn likewise comes across the moribund Harry. Both MacLaine and Gwenn have reason to believe that they're responsible for Harry's demise; MacLaine thinks that she killed Harry by clobbering him with a bottle, while Gwenn is certain that he shot the poor fellow while hunting. As the day draws to a close, seemingly every person in town is convinced that he or she has had some hand in Harry's death, thus they conspire to hide the body from the authorities. Visiting artist John Forsythe, dumbfounded at the calm, collected reactions of the villagers regarding Harry (whose ubiquitous body pops up at the most inopportune moments), solves the "mystery." Though not his most successful film, The Trouble with Harry was one of director Alfred Hitchcock's favorites. The story's whimsical black-comedy elements are perfectly complemented by Bernard Herrmann's playful music score. Best bit: Mildred Natwick, coming upon Gwenn as the latter is strenuously dragging away Harry's corpse, asking offhandedly "What seems to be the trouble, Captain?" The Trouble With Harry was adapted by John Michael Hayes from the novel by John Trevor.more
Rating: PG
Genre: Mystery & Suspense, Classics, Comedy
Directed By:
Written By: John Michael Hayes, John Hayes, John Hayes
In Theaters:
On DVD: Mar 6, 2001
MCA Universal Home Video


Edmund Gwenn
as Capt. Albert Wiles
John Forsythe
as Sam Marlowe
Shirley MacLaine
as Jennifer Rogers
Mildred Natwick
as Miss Ivy Gravely
Mildred Dunnock
as Mrs. Wiggs
Jerry Mathers
as Arnie Rogers, Harry...
Royal Dano
as Calvin Wiggs
Parker Fennelly
as Millionaire
Dwight Marfield
as Dr. Greenbow
Leslie Woolf
as Art Critic
Philip Truex
as Harry Worp
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for The Trouble with Harry

Critic Reviews for The Trouble with Harry

All Critics (22) | Top Critics (2)

This latest of Mr. Hitchcock's efforts is a curiously whimsical thing.

Full Review… | March 25, 2006
New York Times
Top Critic

Full Review… | February 9, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

One of the absolute funniest movies of the 1950s, not least because it is perhaps the most puckish.

Full Review… | September 15, 2013
Antagony & Ecstasy

A spirited irreverence about the power of death pervades. Think of this as a relief valve compared to most of Hitchcock's other films.

Full Review… | May 27, 2011

I love it. I've seen it more times than just about any other Hitchcock.

Full Review… | May 16, 2008
Combustible Celluloid

highly entertaining romantic comedy that still has the Hitchcock touch--a dark comedy using a dead body as the central MacGuffin

Full Review… | February 6, 2006
Old School Reviews

Audience Reviews for The Trouble with Harry

No lost masterpiece here - slightly amusing Hitchcock black comedy. The male leads are leaden but Shirley MacClaine is smart sexy quirky cute right out of the gates.

Bob Stinson

Super Reviewer

This is a delightfully twisted film from old Mr. Hitchcock. Set in a small Vermont town during autumn, this is a mystery/comedy centered around a dead body.

A man named Harry is found dead by a small boy who immediately goes and tells his mom. As she and others happen upon the corpse, they all, for different reasons, think they are to blame in some way for his demise. What follows then are their many attempts to hide the body and cover their tracks as the threat of being caught looms over head.

This is somewhat atypical Hitch because it is the closest he ever came to overt comedy. Granted, it's about a corpse, and the bulk over the humor is of the dry, and darkly morbid variety, but still, even with some suspense, this is a rather lighthearted affair. It's got a good set up, and some wonderful moments, but I do think the ending is rather problematic, mostly because it seems rushed and tacked on. Everything else though is fine.

We get a good cast and some fine performances from this one too. A young Jerry Mathers plays the little boy, his mom is played by then 20 year-old Shirley MacLaine in her film debut, and Edmund Gwenn, John Forsyth, Mildred Natwick, and Royal Dano round out the key players and suspects. With the technical stuff, we get some good cinematography, and real nice visuals, some of which come off as really painterly and picturesque, which is fitting given that art plays a sizable role here. There's an enjoyable and playful score from Bernard Herrmann, and the overall mood and tone make this movie a real off-kilter treat.

It's not the best, and I might be somewhat inflating my grade, but this film gets a lot right, and it is supremely enjoyable, so, if it's not too much *trouble*, try to give it a watch, okay?

Chris Weber

Super Reviewer


Hitchcock's black comedy classic is a different direction for the master and he adapts well.

Graham Jones
Graham Jones

Super Reviewer

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