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Harvey is a 1950 film about Elwood P. Dowd, a mild-mannered, pleasant man, who claims as his best friend a Pooka, in the form of an invisible 6-foot, 3-and-a-half-inch tall rabbit (6-foot, 1-and-a-half-inch tall white rabbit in the play).
- Directed by Henry Koster. Written by Mary Chase, based on her stage play, which was first produced on November 1, 1944.
Elwood P. Dowd
- Here, let me give you one of my cards. Now if you should want to call me, use this number. That — that's the old one. If you happen to lose the card, don't worry — I — have plenty more.
- Well, I've wrestled with reality for 35 years, Doctor, and I'm happy to state I finally won out over it.
- I always have a wonderful time, wherever I am, whoever I'm with.
- Years ago my mother used to say to me, she'd say, "In this world, Elwood, you must be," — she always called me Elwood — "In this world, you must be oh so smart, or oh so pleasant." Well, for years I was smart. I recommend pleasant. You may quote me.
- Wouldn't that get a little monotonous, just Akron, cold beer and "poor, poor thing" for two weeks?
- Harvey and I have things to do... we sit in the bars... have a drink or two... play the juke box. Very soon the faces of all the other people turn towards me and they smile. They say: "We don't know your name, mister, but you're a very nice fellow." Harvey and I warm ourselves in these golden moments. We came as strangers — soon we have friends. They come over. They sit with us. They drink with us. They talk to us. They tell us about the great big terrible things they've done and the great big wonderful things they're going to do. Their hopes, their regrets. Their loves, their hates. All very large, because nobody ever brings anything small into a bar. Then I introduce them to Harvey, and he's bigger and grander than anything they can offer me. And when they leave, they leave impressed. The same people seldom come back, but that's — that's envy, my dear. There's a little bit of envy in the best of us. That's too bad, isn't it?
- I'd just helped Ed Hickey into a taxi. Ed had been mixing his rye with his gin, and I felt he needed conveying. I started to walk down the street when I heard a voice saying: "Good evening, Mr. Dowd". I turned, and there was this big white rabbit leaning against a lamp-post. Well, I thought nothing of that, because when you've lived in a town as long as I've lived in this one, you get used to the fact that everybody knows your name. And naturally, I went over to chat with him.
- We talked like that for a while and then I said to him, "You have the advantage on me. You know my name and I don't know yours." And right back at me he said, "What name do you like?" Well, I didn't even have to think twice about that. Harvey's always been my favorite name. So I said to him, I said, "Harvey." And, this — this is the interesting thing about the whole thing. He said, "What a coincidence. My name happens to be Harvey."
- Oh, yes! Yes. Yes — these things always work out just the way Harvey says they will. He is very, very versatile. Did I tell you he could stop clocks? Well, you've heard the expression 'His face would stop a clock'? Well, Harvey can look at your clock and stop it. And you can go anywhere you like — with anyone you like — and stay as long as you like. And when you get back, not one minute will have ticked by. ... You see, science has overcome time and space. Well, Harvey has overcome not only time and space — but any objections.
- I plan to leave. You want me to stay. Well, an element of conflict in any discussion's a very good thing. It means everybody is taking part and nobody is left out.
Veta Louise Simmons
- Myrtle Mae, you have a lot to learn, and I hope you never learn it.
- Oh, Myrtle, don't be didactic. It's not becoming in a young girl. Besides, men loathe it.
- As I was going down to the taxi cab to get Elwood's things, this awful man stepped out. He was a white slaver, I know he was. He was wearing one of those white suits, that's how they advertise.
- I took a course in art last winter. I learnt the difference between a fine oil painting, and a mechanical thing, like a photograph. The photograph shows only the reality. The painting shows not only the reality, but the dream behind it. It's our dreams, doctor, that carry us on. They separate us from the beasts. I wouldn't want to go on living if I thought it was all just eating, and sleeping, and taking my clothes off, I mean putting them on...
- Mrs. Ethel Chauvenet: Is, is that Mrs. Frank Cummings? Doesn't she look ghastly, I thought she was dead. I must get a closer look.
- The Taxi Driver: ...I've been driving this route for 15 years. I've brought them out here to get that stuff, and I've drove them home after they had it. It changes them... On they way out here, they sit back and enjoy the ride. They talk to me, some times we stop and watch the sunset, and look at the birds fly. And sometimes we stop and watch the birds when there ain't no birds. And look at the sunset when its raining. We have a swell time. And I always get a big tip. But afterwards, uh oh! ...They crab, crab, crab. They yell at me. Watch the lights. Watch the brakes, Watch the intersection. They scream at me to hurry. They got no faith in me, or my buggy. Yet, it's the same cab, the same driver. And we're going back over the very same road. It's no fun. And no tips... After this he'll be a perfectly normal human being and you know what stinkers they are.
- Myrtle Mae Simmons: Oh, mother, people get run over by trucks every day. Why can't something like that happen to Uncle Elwood?
- Dr. Chumley: So, you gave him a pass, Dr. Sanderson?! Perhaps they neglected to tell you at medical school that a rabbit has large pointed ears!?! Do you know what you've done? You've allowed a psychopathic case to walk out of here and roam around with an overgrown white rabbit! You've laid me open to a lawsuit! I shall have to do something I haven't done for fifteen years! I'll have to go after this man, Dowd, and bring him back! But when I do, Dr. Sanderson, your connection with this institution will have ended — as of that moment!
- Dr. Chumley: I'm going over to get your brother and bring him back and take him to the sanitarium where he belongs. I want to observe the expression on his face when he talks to this rabbit. He does talk to the rabbit, you say?
- Marvin Wilson, sanitarium orderly: [Reading from a dictionary] "P-O-O-K-A. Pooka. From old Celtic mythology, a fairy spirit in animal form, always very large. The pooka appears here and there, now and then, to this one and that one. A benign but mischievous creature. Very fond of rumpots, crackpots, and how are you, Mr. Wilson?" [Inverts and shakes the dictionary] "How are you, Mr. Wilson?" Who in the encyclopedia wants to know?
- Mailman: Beautiful day, isn't it?
- Elwood P. Dowd: Every day is a beautiful day.
- Dr. Sanderson: Think carefully, Dowd. Didn't you know somebody, sometime, someplace with the name of Harvey? Didn't you ever know anybody by that name?
- Elwood P. Dowd: No, no, not one, Doctor. Maybe that's why I always had such hopes for it.
- Veta Louise Simmons: Judge Gaffney, is that all those doctors do in places like that — think about sex?
- Judge Gaffney: I don't know.
- Veta Louise Simmons: Because if it is they ought to be ashamed of themselves. It's all in their heads anyway. Why don't they get out and take long walks in the fresh air? Judge Gaffney walked everywhere for years, didn't you, Judge?
- Wilson: Who's Harvey?
- Miss Kelly: A white rabbit, six feet tall.
- Wilson: Six feet?
- Elwood P. Dowd: Six feet three and a half inches. Now let's stick to the facts.
- Mr. Cracker: What can I do for you, Mr. Dowd?
- Elwood P. Dowd: What did you have in mind?
- [Elwood bumps into an old friend he hasn't seen for some time]
- Elwood P. Dowd: You've been away.
- Mr. Miggles: For 90 days. Been doin' a job for the state. Makin' license plates.
- Elwood P. Dowd: Oh, is that so? Interesting work?
- Mr. Miggles: I can take it or leave it alone.
- Elwood P. Dowd: Oh, I see.
- Mr. Miggles: I did a job for 'em last year too. Helpin' 'em build a road.
- Mrs. Ethel Chauvenet: Does Elwood see anybody these days?
- Veta Louise Simmons: Oh, yes, Aunt Ethel, Elwood sees somebody.
- Dr. Sanderson: I want you to telephone this Elwood P. Dowd right away. His sister's condition is serious.
- Miss Kelly: Uh — but, Doctor, I —
- Dr. Sanderson: He'll have to sign these commitment papers for her.
- Miss Kelly: But I didn't know the woman needed the treatment! She said it was her brother!
- Dr. Sanderson: Of course she did! That's the oldest dodge in the world. Always used by a cunning type of psychopath. She knew her brother was about to commit her so she came down here to discredit him. Get him on the phone, please.
- Miss Kelly: But, Doctor, I thought the woman was all right, so I had Wilson take the brother up to Number Twenty-four — South Wing, G. He's there now.
- Dr. Sanderson: You had Wilson take the brother in?! Come on, Miss Kelly, no gags, please!You're not serious, are you?
- Miss Kelly: Oh, I did, Doctor, I — I did. Doctor, I'm terribly sorry.
- Dr. Sanderson: Oh, you're terribly sorry! Well, that's fine! That — that fixes everything! That's just wonderful! No — oh, no! Kelly! Kelly, do you realize what you've done? This man Dowd can sue us for false commitment! He can own the whole sanitarium — and I'll be kicked out of here faster than you can say stupid, incompetent and inefficient!
- Miss Kelly: Oh, I'll tell Dr. Chumley you had nothing to do with it — it was all my fault! You're the last person in the world I'd ever want anything like this to happen to. You know that, don't you, Dr. Sanderson?
- Dr. Sanderson: Miss Kelly, this is hardly the time or place to go into the balcony scene from Romeo and Juliet!
- Miss Kelly: Lately, Doctor, there's never any time or place!
- Dr. Sanderson: Jeepers! They may be putting him in the hydro room right now! Get up there quick and see if you can get him down here! I'll break the news gently to Dr. Chumley. He may want to handle this himself.
- Miss Kelly: Well what shall I say to Mr. Dowd? What do I do? He'll probably be so furious he'll refuse to come down here.
- Dr. Sanderson: Look, Miss Kelly. He's probably fit to be tied, but he's a man, isn't he?
- Miss Kelly: I guess so. His name's Mister!
- Dr. Sanderson: Well, then, go into your old routine. You know, the eyes, the swish, the works. I'm immune to it, but I've seen it work on some people, some of the patients out here. Now, you get him down here, Kelly, if you have to do a striptease!
- Dr. Sanderson: Dr. Chumley, I'm afraid there's been a serious error —
- Dr. Chumley: Dr. Sanderson, we don't permit errors in this institution.
- Wilson: I'll tell you something, Myrts.
- Myrtle Mae Simmons: Yeah?
- Wilson: You know, you not only got a nice build, but you got something else, too.
- Myrtle Mae Simmons: Really? What?
- Wilson: You got the screwiest uncle that ever stuck his puss inside our nuthouse.
- Dr. Chumley: I'm Dr. Chumley. You're Mrs. Simmons, of course.
- Veta Louise Simmons: Yes, well, I'm glad to know you, Dr. Chumley. Would you mind asking Judge Gaffney to come back here?
- Dr. Chumley: Why, certainly, certainly.
- Veta Louise Simmons: I want to tell him to sue you for $100,000. I don't think $50,000 is enough.
- Dr. Sanderson: It sounds funny, but I'll miss this place. I guess I'll miss a lot of things around here.
- Miss Kelly: You will?
- Dr. Sanderson: You won't laugh?
- Miss Kelly: Of course not.
- Dr. Sanderson: You know how it is working around people all day. You sort of get attached to them.
- Miss Kelly: I know, Limon.
- Dr. Sanderson: It may be ridiculous, but I'm gonna miss every one of the psychos, neuros, and schizos in the place.
- Miss Kelly: Well, you can miss your psychos and your schizos, Dr, Sanderson, and you can miss whomever you please. But after you leave here I won't miss a thing — not a single solitary thing.
- Dr. Sanderson: Now what's wrong?
- Miss Kelly: Nothing — I — I came down here to say good-bye to you, so good-bye, good luck and good riddance.
- Dr. Sanderson: Why, you can't even say good-bye without putting it on a personal basis.
- Miss Kelly: Oh, don't flatter yourself, doctor. There's nothing personal about this.
- Dr. Sanderson: I think you've been working too hard, Kelly. You're getting neurotic.
- Miss Kelly: Now don't start analyzing me. Save your psychiatry for your next job.
- Dr. Sanderson: I'm not using psychiatry, Miss Kelly — and let me give you a little friendly advice — that chip on your shoulder stems from a persecution complex that undoubtedly goes back to childhood.
- Miss Kelly: Well, thanks so much for the case history, doctor. Now could you tell me what an over-inflated ego stems from?
- Dr. Sanderson: Now listen here!
- Elwood P. Dowd: You see, science has overcome time and space. Harvey has overcome not only time and space but also any objections.
- Dr. Chumley: Fly specks, fly specks! I've been spending my life among fly specks while miracles have been leaning on lampposts at 18th and Fairfax!
- Dr. Chumley: This sister of yours is at the bottom of a conspiracy against you. She's trying to persuade me to lock you up. Today, she had commitment papers drawn up. She has your power of attorney and the key to your safety box, and she brought you here!
- Elwood P. Dowd: She did all that in one afternoon. That Veta certainly is a whirlwind, isn't she?
- Jimmy Stewart - Elwood P. Dowd
- Josephine Hull - Veta Louise Simmons
- Peggy Dow - Miss Kelly
- Charles Drake - Dr. Sanderson
- Cecil Kellaway - Dr. Chumley
- Victoria Horne - Myrtle Mae Simmons
- Jesse White - Marvin Wilson
- William Lynn - Judge Gaffney
- Wallace Ford - Taxi driver
- Grace Mills - Aunt Ethel
Quotes about Harvey
- Of course, it depends a great deal upon what you have in mind in the way of entertainment by which you would be amused. But if you're for warm and gentle whimsey, for a charmingly fanciful farce and for a little touch of pathos anent the fateful evanescence of man's dreams, then the movie version of Harvey is definitely for you.
As a matter of fact, we'll even wager that, if you're not in a mood for all of these, an hour and three-quarters with Harvey will do you a world of good.
- As Elwood P. Dowd, the rabbit fancier — Harvey's companion in killing time — Mr. Stewart is utterly beguiling and disarming of all annoyance. A faint touch of seeming imbecility, which is somewhat distasteful at the start, is quickly dispelled as Mr. Stewart makes Elwood a man to be admired.
- Bosley Crowther, in The New York Times (22 December 1950)
- John Nash: Have you met Harvey? [points to an empty seat Sol is about to sit in]
- Sol: [startled, and worried] John, there's no...
- John: Relax, it's okay. [letting him know he was joking] There's no point being nuts if you can't have a little fun.
- Sol: Jesus Christ. I should have known...
- Though at times slow and obvious, the film allows humor to emerge ever so gently at the expense of its targets. Elwood may be a drunk (or not — does he ever actually take a drink?), and he may be delusional, but he is also happier, less neurotic, and more content than the so-called normal people who surround him and claim to be looking out for his best interests. By the film's end, Harvey and Elwood appear to be working their magic on everyone around them, as the world begins to share their delusion.
It would not be stretching things to suggest that Harvey symbolizes spirituality, and some things, the film seems to say, just have to be taken on faith. Self-importance, snobbery, and the profession of psychiatry are among Harvey's targets, but this is no Swiftian satire.
This film does not intend to cause harm or discomfort but to tease and needle its targets.
- Dan Jardine, in Cinemania (26 December 2014)
- What makes Harvey great is the fact that it's equally enjoyable as a piece of comedic fluff and as slyly intelligent social commentary.
- Brian Webster, in Apollo Guide (16 March 2004)