Photo courtesy of Universal Pictures
BESTIES: Amiable eccentric Elwood P. Dowd (Jimmy Stewart) runs into trouble thanks to his best friend, an invisible white rabbit, in the 1950 classic, Harvey, screening in the Bay Theater.

Directed by Henry Koster (The Bishop’s Wife) and based on the play of the same name by Mary Chase, Harvey chronicles the misadventures of Elwood P. Dowd (Jimmy Stewart), who due to his close friendship with a 6-foot-3.5 invisible white rabbit perplexes those around him and vexes his older sister, Veta (Josephine Hull), and Veta’s daughter, Myrtle Mae (Victoria Horne), who believe they’ve become social outcasts because of Elwood’s eccentricities.

Deeply charming thanks to Stewart’s masterful acting (you almost believe the invisible rabbit is there with him), this family film is a classic farce. When Veta is determined to have Elwood committed to a sanitarium, she instead is committed. Eventually the mistake is corrected and Elwood is brought in, but Harvey—described by Elwood as a benign but mischievous Puca from Celtic mythology—has a few tricks up his invisible sleeve.

Created at a time when eccentricities, special needs, and mental illness were routinely hidden from view, the film’s an insightful take on mental illness and the importance of embracing and accepting divergent personalities. You’ll be blown away by Stewart’s performance and surprised by its progressive view on mental health. (104 min.) 


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