Saturday, October 9, 2010

Harvey (1950)

See, there are so many great films that I'm just starting to get my hands on and watch (thank you, Netflix, you are grand and wonderful) and for some reason that I just can't fathom, I had never seen Harvey until very recently. I had seen the ending, but I think that that was it. But it's a hilarious film. I mean, duh, of course it is, it's only a classic movie and all. But throughout the film I was trying to envision it in the context of the 50s. There was all sorts of talk about psychiatry and alcoholism and sex: all of these topics that I would have thought to have been too taboo for the time, no matter how briefly they were mentioned. That said, during this time period psychology and psychologists had been pushed into the forefront of public attention. Freud's development of psychoanalysis has only been around for at least 100 years and having a story surrounding a (perceived) mentally insane person being committed into (what may have been a public perception of) a sanitarium was probably a pretty fresh spin on a comedy of errors tale. And what's even more interesting is that the insane person, the person that everyone thinks is absolutely off his rocker and the most likely candidate for Freud himself to study, is perhaps the most sane character in the entire story.
"Years ago, my mother used to say to me, she'd say: 'In this world, Elwood,' she always used to call me Elwood. 'In this world, Elwood, you must be oh so smart or oh so pleasant.' Well, for years I was smart. I recommend pleasant. And you can quote me."
What also kind of stuck out in the film was when Elwood talks in private with Dr. Chumley about how his friend Harvey can stop time and transport people to any place that they wish to be for as long as they want. I was looking up the genre categories for the film on a couple of websites and only saw that it had been categorized as a comedy, drama, and fantasy. Which is pretty interesting, because this film had all of the makings and possibilities of becoming a pretty great science-fiction dramatic comedy. And... well, in a sense, I guess it already is, even if it isn't "officially" so.

I grabbed a couple of frames that I thought were pretty good examples of framing and composition. Anything that stuck out to me, I snapped a quick shot of for reference.

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