The Hitchcock Haul: The Trouble With Harry (1955)

Trouble_with_Harry_VSD5971As the synopsis on the Netflix sleeve informed me, the trouble with Harry is that he’s dead. That is definitely trouble, but more for the people who happen to stumble upon his body. Now, how much you enjoy this movie will be directly related to how many times you think it acceptable to bury and then dig up a body. Do you think it’s acceptable to do so as many times as needed? But how many times could you possibly need to do such a thing? Do you think burying a body just once is too many times? For that mater, how do you feel about death? On a scale from one to ten in fucks given, are you at a no fucks or entirely too many? If you give entirely too many, stay away from this Hitchcock outlier.

The Trouble With Harry is a very strange film. I am a huge fan of black comedies, and for this reason I greatly enjoyed Hitchcock’s entry into the genre, but it wasn’t a box office success, and I can understand why. It doesn’t surprise me that Hitchcock would make a film like this. I’m actually surprised he didn’t make more. It has his signature quirky sensibility and wry humor that all his films possess, but in Harry it’s the focus. His signature camera angles are still there, and it feels very much like some of his early work from the ’20s and ’30s, approaching the film very much like play. This was right before Hitchcock hit what I consider to be his golden age with films like Vertigo and North by Northwest, films everyone associates most strongly with his style. Harry feels very much like a bridge between his old work and this new era, much like Dial M for Murder which was released the year before.

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The Hitchcock Haul: The Skin Game (1931)

DownloadedFileLike a lot of these older Hitchcock films, I had never heard of The Skin Game. Based on a play by Nobel Prize winner John Glasworthy, the film highlights tensions between old money and the nouveau riche to demonstrate class warfare and talk about the urbanization of rural areas, something that was a hotbed topic since the Industrial Revolution.

The established Hillcrists and the up-and-coming Hornblowers dive into a family feud over one of the last open stretches of wilderness between their two estates in the English countryside. The Hillcrists find the Hornblowers crass and reprehensible, as they’ve been building ugly factories and residences on surrounding land, even throwing tenants out of their homes that were promised residency when the Hillcrests sold some land to Mr. Hornblower (Edmund Gwenn). This began the breach of faith, but when Mr. Hornblower purchased the last bit of unsullied land in what Mr. Hillcrist (C.V. France) calls a ‘skin game,’ the Hillcrists decided to play dirty.

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