HARVEY (1950). Perhaps one of the most definitive Jimmy Stewart roles using his aw-shucks shuffling 'n' flustered persona to its fullest, teetering right on the edge of being lovable or cloying depending on your own proclivities. Co-starring a dazzling Josephine Hull...(DAZZLING!), Jesse White (before he made his fortune with Maytag washing machines!), Cecil Kellaway (one of the greatest character actors of all time, treading the finest line of comedy and near-tragic poignancy here), and a host of others who fill this film with as much color and life as other golden-age comedies like DINNER AT EIGHT, ARSENIC AND OLD LACE, and THE MAN WHO CAME TO DINNER. If you've never seen HARVEY before, I wonder if you'll feel an impossible-to-ignore lump in your throat as the story unfolds.... it may seem fluffy and foolish along the way, but the deeper message, especially in the face of how the "real" world had unraveled, cuts deep. The close call of Elwood's "therapy" is so strangely timely now too, with our 21st century society's desire to eliminate the special, the rare, the individual, the hand-made, the eccentric, the non-conformist. For me, it's another one of those stories that breaks my heart....every time. To the very last frame, and the very last twist in the plot, as the irrepressible Jimmy Stewart escorts us down the lane and off to the land of deeply happy endings.
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