DVD Movie Guide @ dvdmg.com Awards & Recommendations at Amazon.com.
Review Archive:  # | A-C | D-F | G-I | J-L | M-O | P-R | S-U | V-Z | Viewer Ratings | Main


Alfred Hitchcock
Edmund Gwenn, John Forsythe, Shirley MacLaine
Writing Credits:
John Michael Hayes

The Trouble with Harry is that he's dead, and while no one really minds, everyone feels responsible.

Rated PG.

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
English DTS-HD MA Monaural
French DTS Monaural
Japanese DTS Monaural
German DTS Monaural
Italian DTS Monaural
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 99 min.
Price: $29.98
Release Date: 5/10/22

• “The Trouble With Harry Isn’t Over” Documentary
• Production Photographs
• Trailer
• Blu-ray Copy


-LG OLED65C6P 65-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart OLED TV
-Marantz SR7010 9.2 Channel Full 4K Ultra HD AV Surround Receiver
-Sony UBP-X700 4K Ultra HD Dolby Vision Blu-ray Player
-Chane A2.4 Speakers
-SVS SB12-NSD 12" 400-watt Sealed Box Subwoofer


The Trouble With Harry [4K UHD] (1955)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (January 24, 2023)

Much of Alfred Hitchcock’s work often displayed his droll, dark sense of humor as a subtext. However, 1955’s The Trouble With Harry offered a more overt entry in the “black comedy” genre.

Harry starts with a death, as it appears that Captain Albert Wiles (Edmund Gwenn) accidentally shoots Harry Worp (Philip Truex) during a hunting outing. He plans to simply hide the corpse and not notify anyone, but a variety of locals find the body before he can do so, and that makes it impossible for Wiles to neatly dispose of Harry.

Oddly, none of these folks seem too upset about the departed. Some – like Jennifer Rogers (Shirley MacLaine) exhibit outright happiness about his death, while others remain simply unconcerned.

Struggling artist Sam Marlow (John Forsythe) uses Harry as a model, while aging spinster Ivy Gravely (Mildred Natwick) turns her discovery of Captain Wiles’ deed into an excuse to invite him over for a snack.

Inevitably, complications arise, primarily connected to the cause of Harry’s death. Did he die due to Captain Wiles’ gun or did something else occur? The film explores that path along with connected issues.

My opening paragraph may make Trouble sound like it differs from the usual Hitchcock flick more than it actually does. Yes, the film provides more obvious comedy than most other Hitchcock works, but it’s not like Hitch made something akin to Weekend At Bernie’s.

Though the humor becomes more prevalent here, the material remains dark and dry. This isn’t a broad laughfest.

And that’s good, because we don’t want Hitchcock to stray too far from his bread and butter. By no means do I view Hitchcock as a one-note filmmaker, as we find substantial differences among most of his films.

However, virtually all of Hitchcock’s works fall under the “thriller” banner, and I don’t think he’d have been well served if he tried to stretch his legs too much. Hitch clearly understood where his talents resided, so he created variations on similar themes within the same genre.

A more traditional comedy from Hitchcock probably would’ve been a disaster. He remained uniquely suited for dark material like this.

Trouble probably seems quirkier than most Hitchcock flicks, though. I’m glad it avoids the usual depiction of a small town populated by relentlessly kooky folks.

Early on, it looks like we’ll get that kind of cutesy/wacky set of people, but Trouble steers clear of those personalities. The characters we encounter aren’t bland, but they also don’t come across like fake movie oddballs.

While the characters involved seem acceptably real and without too many contrived mannerisms, the situation does lend itself to quirkiness. After all, the main gimmick here comes from the near absence of “whodunnit” material.

Other than a half-baked investigation by the local deputy, no one in Trouble seems to care who killed Harry. They attempt to assign responsibility mostly due to worries about potential fallout from the incident, so they certainly don’t feel bad about his demise or become concerned with any other aspects of the case.

Most movies would feature a taut detective story that deals with the ramifications of the death. Not Trouble, which maintains a relentlessly nonchalant attitude toward that issue. This is really more of a character piece than a murder mystery, as the film gives us Sam/Jennifer and Albert/Ivy couples.

In fact, the creepiest part of Trouble comes from the romance between Albert and Ivy. I know she’s supposed to be a desperate spinster, but Gwenn was way too old for Natwick.

Strangely, the movie portrays Ivy as 42 even though she looks much older. Natwick was actually 50 at the time, so why not use her real age?

In any case, Gwenn was pushing 80 back then, so the concept of those two as a couple doesn’t seem too appealing for an audience. Gwenn played Santa eight years earlier, and now he’s romancing a much younger woman? Ick!

Despite that misstep – why not cast someone less ancient as Wiles? - The Trouble With Harry provides solid entertainment. It stands as “B”-level Hitchcock, and I doubt anyone would place it among his best works. Nonetheless, it gives us an unusual take on a standard tale.

The Disc Grades: Picture A/ Audio B-/ Bonus C

The Trouble With Harry appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this 4K UHD Disc. Only one word could describe this VistaVision presentation: wow!

Sharpness was quite good. Virtually no problematic softness materialized, so this became a tight, precise image.

No concerns with jagged edges or shimmering occurred, and edge haloes were absent. With a light layer of grain, I suspected no noise reduction issues, and print flaws remained absent.

Colors became a strength, as the 4K replicated the movie’s autumnal tones in a vivid, distinctive manner. HDR gave the hues real punch and power.

Blacks felt deep and dense, while shadows seemed smooth and clear. HDR added impact and power to whites and contrast. Pop this 4K into your player and expect to be dazzled.

Though not as impressive, I found the DTS-HD monaural soundtrack of The Trouble With Harry to work fine. It didn’t exceed expectations for a mix of its age, but the audio was more than acceptable.

Speech lacked edginess. The lines weren’t exactly natural – many showed obvious looping - but they seemed distinctive and without problems.

Effects were a little flat, but they showed no distortion and displayed acceptable definition. Music was pretty lively given its age, as the score sounded reasonably bright and concise. Altogether, I found little about which to complain, as the soundtrack aged well.

How did the 4K UHD compare to the Blu-ray version? Audio was similar, if not identical, though the 4K disc felt a little clearer.

On the other hand, the 4K UHD destroyed the Blu-ray, as it appeared better defined, richer and more vibrant. While the BD offered more than acceptable visuals, it couldn’t compete with the stunning image found with the 4K.

The 4K replicates the Blu-ray’s extras, and we start with a documentary called The Trouble With Harry Isn’t Over. This 32-minute, six-second piece provides notes from director’s daughter Pat Hitchcock O’Connell, associate producer Herbert Coleman, screenwriter John Michael Hayes, Bernard Herrmann biographer Steven C. Smith, and actor John Forsythe.

“Over” looks at the source novel, its adaptation, and the project’s path to the screen, Hitchcock’s working style, cast and performances, shooting in Vermont and sets, the score, and the movie’s reception.

The biggest disappointment about “Over” comes from the absence of any actors other than Forsythe. Shirley MacLaine and Jerry Mathers are still with us, so it’s too bad they didn’t participate.

Nonetheless, “Over” offers a fun look at the flick. Forsythe contributes a few amusing anecdotes about Hitchcock, and the program proves to be a breezy and informative piece.

Although we get a trailer for Trouble, it most definitely isn’t the film’s original theatrical ad. Instead, it’s a promo for a home video release – and not a very interesting one.

Under Production Photographs, we see 38 images. These mix ads, publicity shots and behind the scenes pictures.

Though a little more comedic than most Hitchcock flicks, The Trouble With Harry marks enough of the director’s hallmarks to still feel like one of his works. We find a skewed mystery that rarely cares about what happened to the titular victim, and it becomes an enjoyable experience. The 4K UHD delivers stunning visuals, acceptable audio and an interesting documentary. I wish the set had a broader set of supplements, but I feel pleased with the presentation of the film itself.

Note that this 4K UHD version of Harry can be found on its own or as part of a 5-film set called “Alfred Hitchcock Classics Collection”. This also includes Saboteur, Shadow of a Doubt, Marnie and Family Plot.

To rate this film, visit the DVD review of THE TROUBLE WITH HARRY

Review Archive:  # | A-C | D-F | G-I | J-L | M-O | P-R | S-U | V-Z | Viewer Ratings | Main