Little Bit of History: Based on the play of the same name by Mary Chase. Released in 1950 by Universal International, directed by Henry Koster and starring James Stewart, Josephine Hull, Peggy Dow and Charles Drake. James Stewart’s performance earned him a Best Actor Oscar nomination while Josephine Hull’s performance won her an Academy Award as Best Supporting Actress.
Little Bit of Plot/Story: James Stewart plays Elwood P. Dowd, a simple man with simple pleasures who just so happens to have a best friend…that is a six-foot three and a half inch tall invisible rabbit, the titular Harvey. Harvey is a pooka, a mischievous creature from Celtic mythology. Elwood has driven his sister and niece to worry about him due to his obsession over his invisible friend, Harvey. His family seems to be unsure whether Elwood’s obsession with Harvey is a product of his over enjoyment of drink or perhaps even a genuine mental illness. So is Harvey real or is Elwood mentally ill?
Little Bit of Character: Along with James Stewart’s Elwood P. Dowd are Josephine Hull as Veta Louise Simmons, Peggy Dow playing Miss Kelly the Nurse with Charles Drake as Dr. Lyman Sanderson. Oh and a six-foot three and a half inch tall invisible rabbit.
Little Bit of Influence: The film was based on the play by Mary Chase that is still performed on stage to this day. The play has also been turned into a TV play several times from 1958 – 1996.
Several attempts have been made to remake the film including by Universal Pictures in the late 90’s with Jim Carrey starring. Even Steven Spielberg was interested in having a go at remaking the film with Tom Hanks in the Elwood P. Dowd role.
The first episode of 1975 TV series The Invisible Man featured a scene with an invisible rabbit named “Harvey” in a cage in a laboratory.
A scene in the film: Who Framed Roger Rabbit has a barfly confessing, “I seen the rabbit”. He then puts his arm around an invisible presence and says, “Say hello…Harvey”
Little Bit of Memories: The first time I recall seeing this film was when staying with my Nan and Grandad as it was shown on TV. One of my all time favourite films ever, it’s just such an endearing story and James Stewart give a stunning and believable performance as the carefree Elwood. This film has become one of my yearly watches.
Little Bit of Watchability: Very much still watchable today and a great way to cheer yourself up. James Stewart is masterful in his role as Elwood P. Dowd (probably my favourite role of his) and really comes off as a caring, yet slightly confused man, along with an amazing supporting cast. The film is just so “magical” with the right amount of fantasy added to quite a serious story about a man with drinking problems and possible mental illness. Everyone should watch this uplifting film.
Elwood P. Dowd: I always have a wonderful time, wherever I am, whomever I’m with.