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Created by NimbleMarmoset. Last Edited by ChickenNuggets. Tagged as: Film, Humor

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There are too many aspects of Harvey to analyse. This is a typical example of a film being incredibly deceptive. On the outside the film is a light hearted comedy but when looking at it closely it is very clearly a serious social commentary of it’s time, and indeed of the present time (for the same prejudices still exist today).

Harvey is a “pooka” ( a mischievous spirit) that manifests itself as a six foot white rabbit. Only Elwood P. Dowd can see Harvey and it is from this that the underlying dark story of an alcoholic’s friendship with an invisible spirit blends itself in to comic fantasy.

The comic side to the film opens up the subject of prejudice and peoples fear of what is different from themselves. Elwood P Dowd is seen as insane by his sister, neice and the public and yet he is not a killer, he is not an angry or violent man. What he is, however, is a happy, cheerful and exremely pleasant gentleman who takes great pleasure in trying to make other people happy with the aid of a six foot white rabbit.

The film’s success, in my mind, is entirely on the shoulders of James Stewart who’s portrayal of the eccentric Elwwod P Dowd is exceptionally moving and fulfilling. He is surrounded by an outstanding supporting cast and one of the best scripts in movie history.

If this does not sound appealing to you, I urge you to watch Dowd’s comments regarding Harvey outside the bar. This speech never fails to bring a lump in my throat. Not because it is sad but because it is such an innocent speech (delivered superbly by Stewart).

To me, Harvey has a hidden message to the audience,

“Elwood P. Dowd does not see life as it is, but life as it should be!!

Shoudn’t we all see life like this?”



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Members that think Harvey is the best!

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NimbleMarmoset posted over 8 years ago

But he’s not fictional! He’s real!!!

LaciLou posted over 7 years ago

This movie is beautiful. I absolutely LOVE this film. If only we could all have a “Harvey.” How much lovelier life would be.

NimbleMarmoset posted over 7 years ago

If only having a Harvey would be acceptable.

If only being pleasant instead of just intelligent was something everyone strived for.

Finrod posted over 6 years ago

Oh, what treasures lie hidden in Bestuff...

NM, lacka: I first saw this movie many years ago when I was about - oh, eight or nine, I would guess - and it left a lasting impression on me.

But as an example of how memory works (or rather doesn't), I saw it again fairly  recently and in addition to savouring its classic lines like:

"Well, I wrestled with reality for thirty-five years, doctor, and I'm happy to state I finally won out over it."


"Myrtle Mae, you have a lot to learn, and I hope you never learn it."

- I sat enraptured till the end of the film, convinced that Harvey would appear there in silhouette next to Elwood as they walk into the distance.

He doesn't. Elwood is alone in the shot. But that shows just how realistic Harvey (the rabbit) was to my younger self. 

NimbleMarmoset posted over 6 years ago

I must say, what an excellent post that is, Finrod.

Finrod posted over 6 years ago
You honour me unnecessarily, NM. You've been known to post some 'little jaspers' yourself (as an ex-colleague from Yorkshire would put it. I never knew precisely what it meant, but it was always used in a positive sense).
NimbleMarmoset posted over 6 years ago

Oooh, I think I will adopt that phrase.

Finrod posted over 6 years ago

Feel free! It’s not copyright in the way ‘rather splendid’ is.

Said colleague was also in the habit of saying "job's a good 'un!" several dozen times a day. One of our foreign students adopted this, but unfortunately it always came out as "good's a job 'un." 

NimbleMarmoset posted over 6 years ago

Good's a job 'un! Hah! I think I'll adopt that one as well, to seriously confuse innocent people.

Hmmm.. this makes me think.. I wonder how I can create a category for the annoyance caused by people who constantly repeat the same expression over and over....  I could use that, but it does seem awfully wordy.

NimbleMarmoset posted over 6 years ago

Oh! And I perhaps know why you had that image of Elwood and Harvey walking off together! The cover of the film is Elwood staring up at a shadow of Harvey. Could this be the route of your confusion?

Finrod posted over 6 years ago

Maybe. But as a child I only had access to Harvey through the very primitive TV of the 1960s (or perchance 70s). Only since about 1990 have I become what you might - without actually using the phrase to me - describe as a 'film geek,' so it's very difficult to tell exactly. To be honest, I'd forgotten completely about the film - except that I knew back then when I was young that it was good, don't ask me why - until I started reading quotes from the film guide known over here as Halliwell's. I started remembering bits and pieces of it then.

God, that makes me sound like a psychiatric patient of one of the more exotic varieties!

In fact, I think I should study Harvey as closely as I do quasars.


I know what you mean about annoying phrases. Dammit, I can't put my finger on the word(s) for the right category, either...