Harvey (1950) - Rotten Tomatoes

Harvey (1950)

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This whimsical fantasy about a local drunk's 6' 3 1/2" imaginary rabbit pal was a smash hit (and a Pulitzer Prize winner) on Broadway and was then adapted into this likeable farce that's also an allegory about tolerance. James Stewart stars as Elwood P. Dowd, a wealthy tippler whose sunny philosophy and inebriated antics are tolerated by most of the citizenry. That is, until Elwood begins claiming that he sees a "pooka" (a mischievous Irish spirit), which has taken the form of a man-sized bunny named Harvey. Although everyone is certain that Elwood has finally lost his mind, Harvey's presence begins to have magically positive effects on the townsfolk, with the exception of Elwood's own sister Veta (Josephine Hull), who, ironically, can also occasionally see Harvey. A snooty socialite, Veta is determined to marry off her daughter, Myrtle (Victoria Horne), to somebody equally respectable, and Elwood's lunacy is interfering. When Veta attempts to have Elwood committed to an insane asylum, however, the result is that she is accidentally admitted instead of her brother. Then the institution's director, Dr. Chumley (Cecil Kellaway), begins seeing Harvey, too. Hull, who reprised her part from the stage production, won an Oscar and a Golden Globe.

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Cast

James Stewart
as Elwood P. Dowd
Josephine Hull
as Veta Louise Simmons
Charles Drake
as Dr. Sanderson
William Lynn
as Judge Gaffney
Cecil Kellaway
as Dr. Chumley
Peggy Dow
as Miss Kelly
Victoria Horne
as Myrtle Mae
Wallace Ford
as Lofgren
Nana Bryant
as Mrs. Chumley
Grace Mills
as Mrs. Chauvenet
Ida Moore
as Mrs. McGiff
Dick Wessel
as Cracker
Pat Flaherty
as Policeman
Norman Leavitt
as Cab Driver
Edwin Max
as Salesman
Minerva Urecal
as Nurse Dunphy
Almira Sessions
as Mrs. Halsey
Sally Corner
as Mrs. Cummings
Sam Wolfe
as Minninger
Polly Bailey
as Mrs. Krausmeyer
Grayce Hampton
as Mrs. Strickleberger
Ruthelma Stevens
as Miss LaFay
Eula Guy
as Mrs. Johnson
William Val
as Chauffeur
Gino Corrado
as Eccentric Man
Don Brodie
as Mailman
Harry Hines
as Meegels
Aileen Carlyle
as Mrs. Tewksbury
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Critic Reviews for Harvey

All Critics (25) | Top Critics (4)

Unhappily, what the film also borrows from the play, and somehow makes more conspicuous, is a tendency to drag its feet for long stretches, especially during the virtually actionless last third of the story.

March 29, 2011 | Full Review…
TIME Magazine
Top Critic

Harvey, Mary Chase's Pulitzer Prize play, loses little of its whimsical comedy charm in the screen translation.

March 26, 2009 | Full Review…
Variety
Top Critic

If you're for warm and gentle whimsey, for a charmingly fanciful farce and for a little touch of pathos anent the fateful evanescence of man's dreams, then the movie version of Harvey is definitely for you.

March 25, 2006 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…
New York Times
Top Critic

Charming, lightweight stuff (from a play by Mary Chase), so long as you can take Stewart's ingenuousness, but it does wear thin.

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

Elwood may be a drunk (or not -- does he ever actually take a drink?), and he may be delusional, but he is also happier, less neurotic, and more content than the so-called normal people who surround him and claim to be looking out for his best interests.

December 26, 2014 | Rating: 78/100 | Full Review…
Cinemania

Stewart's Elwood P. Dowd is a soft-spoken philosopher and a friend to all -- he's quite disarming, and so is this movie.

September 13, 2012 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…
Creative Loafing

Audience Reviews for Harvey

½

A sweet movie as adorable as James Stewart's character, who charms us distributing business cards and being nice to everyone that he meets, while Josephine Hull deserved the Oscar she won for her hilarious, on-the-edge-of-hysteria performance.

Carlos Magalhães
Carlos Magalhães

Super Reviewer

½

Jimmy Stewart is brilliant as Elwood P. Dowd in this great moral tale that will leave you feeling all warm and fuzzy.

Graham Jones
Graham Jones

Super Reviewer

½

An infectiously nice/insane main character played brilliantly by James Stewart, a great skeptical reflection of the audience portrayed by Josephine Hull, and a great story make this movie one of a kind. It is funny, nice and has a wonderful moral.

Sanjay Rema
Sanjay Rema

Super Reviewer

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