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  Directed by
  Starring
  Specs
  • Full Frame
  • Dual Layer ( )
  Languages
  • English: Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono
  • French: Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono
  • Spanish: Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono
  • German: Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono
  • Italian: Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono
  Subtitles
    English, French, Spanish, German, Italian, Hebrew, Greek, Russian, Dutch, Arabic, Portuguese, Turkish, Danish, Swedish, Norwegian, Finnish
  Extras
  • Theatrical trailer
  • Photo gallery
  • Animated menus
  • Interviews

Harvey

Universal/Universal . R4 . COLOR . 100 mins . G . PAL

  Feature
Contract

Elwood P. Dowd (James Stewart) is a sweet-natured, polite, charming and downright pleasant gentleman who completely flummoxes his live-in sister, society columnist Veta, and her thus-far-a-spinster daughter, Myrtle Mae. Now, how could such a delightful sounding gent cause such misery for his kin? Well, there’s this little thing about his best friend, who happens to be a pooka – a sort of spiritual companion type dealie which manifests itself, to Elwood at least, in the shape of a six-foot plus tall white rabbit possessing the moniker Harvey. This lupine entity which apparently only Elwood can see has proven the downfall to so many societal gatherings for Veta that she decides the only course of action is to have her “peculiar” brother committed. After all, if believing he has a massive rabbit buddy isn’t enough to prove he’s quite patently mad, he also has a penchant for the odd martini or three – oh the shame!

Cue the beginning of a somewhat delightfully farcical affair whereby Veta’s attempts at fraternal committal backfire; and most of the staff of the sanatorium in question, plus a judge, a gatekeeper and even a taxi-driver, all fall into the orbit of Elwood in one way or another, as he goes on about his life blissfully unaware of the problems he’s apparently causing, remaining polite to the end – never entering a room before anybody else and even offering strangers invitations to dinner…

"I always have a wonderful time, wherever I am, whoever I'm with."

Perhaps not surprisingly, the ever-captivating Jimmy Stewart gives yet another bravado performance here, with the added challenge of acting (quite successfully) with something that doesn’t actually exist. Having started life as a Broadway play, Harvey went on to win a Pulitzer prize for its author Mary Chase, before the film offer came along, with which she was heavily involved with the screenplay. In all it’s a peachy little subtly comic romp that’s ultimately filled with charm and good humour, with a final moral which is decidedly inspiring rather than cloying or sickly.

  Video
Contract

Right, let’s see now… Lots of specks and flecks, some examples of graininess, aliasing, shimmering, reel change markers – yes, Harvey has the lot. What a shame they’re all bad things then. Still, the film is more than half a century old, so such things can be expected – especially when Universal were obviously too cheap to expend any shekels on some restoration for what is one of the more classic films in their extensive archives. Still, at least the full frame, black and white image we’re presented with exhibits a decent black to white range, with reasonable contrast and shadow detail as well as a nicely placed layer change.

  Audio
Contract

Made in mono, it’s delivered pretty much as such, via a Dolby Digital stereo mix. There’s little to be said for or against the mix really, it manages to deliver dialogue – by far the most constant and important part of the film – clearly at all times, with just a few hissies here and there which are of no great consequence. Speaking of which, the soundtrack from Frank Skinner is rather sparse, rarely competing with dialogue in favour of padding out the rare quieter scenes.

  Extras
Contract

Some suitable animated menus give way to but two extras. The obligatory trailer is present and accounted for in all its crackly–pop, spicked and specked glory, running for 1:28. Much more interesting, however, is a fabulous special introduction to the film featuring Jimmy Stewart recorded back in 1990. Running for 7:11 and accompanied mostly by still photographs (some clips from the film also appear), this was taped for the VHS release but is just as relevant on little shiny disc, as Mr Stewart divulges his love of Harvey and many of his experiences relating to both the film and the stage show which preceded it.

  Overall  
Contract

The lack of any restoration work for this release is quite unfortunate considering Harvey’s popularity and classic status, however what’s on offer isn’t entirely horrendous – especially when bearing in mind just what a great film is contained on this little five-inch diameter piece of polycarbonate. It does take a little time to get some wind in its sails, but once it does get going proper Harvey is a delight of a movie the type of which, sadly, just isn’t made nowadays.


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      And I quote...
    "…a peachy little subtly comic romp that’s ultimately filled with charm and good humour."
    - Amy Flower
      Review Equipment
    • DVD Player:
          Pioneer DV-466-K
    • TV:
          Sony 68cm
    • Receiver:
          Onkyo TX-DS494
    • Speakers:
          DB Dynamics Eclipse RBS662
    • Centre Speaker:
          DB Dynamics Eclipse ECC442
    • Surrounds:
          DB Dynamics Eclipse ECR042
    • Subwoofer:
          DTX Digital 4.8
    • Audio Cables:
          Standard RCA
    • Video Cables:
          Standard Component RCA
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