The intriguing thing about the movie is how Hitchcock takes Norman Krasna's paper-thin script and adds sly undercurrents of menace. You may note, for instance, that the ostensibly happy Smiths treat each other with subtle sadism right from the start, and that David's tactical pursuit of his ex-wife (spying on her and deliberately offending Jeff's parents) involves them both in humiliations that are really quite sinister and ugly. Violence seems about to erupt in the recurring scenes where Ann shaves her husband (suggestively holding a razor up to his throat)--and make what you will of our hero's symbolic nosebleeds. There's a touch of Vertigo in one scary moment when a jammed amusement park ride leaves two characters dangling helplessly high above the ground--and a touch of shall we say relief for Hitchcock's well-known love of toilet humour in another oddball sequence. Montgomery and Lombard keep the mood acceptably frivolous, while indicating the flawed nature of the marital relationship. From the evidence of this one-off, Hitchcock might have been among the best comedy directors in the business, had he so wished. --Peter Matthews
Watching 'The Trouble With Harry' one gets a similar feeling and that film too, accompanying the comedy, however dated some of it can be at times, has a real sense of the macabre, a quite horrible darkness to the overall feeling of the film. The way in which the couple, (having spilt up, Mr. wants to get back together with his uninterested wife), and particularly him, treat each other, the constant dogging, spying and overalll attempt at malicious sabotage is quite disconcerting if also fairly funny.
There's no getting away from the fact that the film isn't a great. Though there are echoes in some of the symbolism, though some images bring others from greater films to mind, Vertigo, Psycho, still, like HItchcock's films as a whole from that era, we aren't treated to a wonderful cinemtaic experience but a good one, and, far more interestingly, we are shown, like most of Hitchcock's earlier and less successful film, the seeds of the future, those reminders, fleeting though they may be, of what comes out of this work and one can hardly fail to wonder at it.
Working with, shall we say, not the best screenplay ever made, the actors performances are all strong, as macabre as they needed to be, when they needed to be and likewise for the comedy. That is perhaps what gets the film through, the very decent balance between the seriousnees of the film and the comedy.
It is well worth the watching and, as with virtually all of his work, essential for any true Hitchcockians.
It's odd Hitchcock fare, but fluff enough to keep you engaged. Mr and Mrs Smith are constantly at each other's throats, but with one condition -- they never leave the bedroom until their score has been settled.
But what do they do when they find that their marriage was not legal in the first place? Batten down the hatches, kids, this one's not pretty.
The virtues of this film are to be seen in Hitchcock's dealing with the married couple. There aren't that many married-couple stories in film, because all that lusting has been tamed. But Hitch has his own way of telling these tales. This film is in good company with earlier English attempts Rich & Strange, The Lady Vanishes and The Man Who Knew Too Much pitching themselves on the far side of the marriage boundary.
That said, this is a particularly lusty marriage, and of course when it is annulled, the lust goes mad. Only in different directions.
Worth checking out for the farce -- but don't approach it with your Hitchcock-snobbery head on.
The screenplay is mediocre, the characters cardboard cut outs, never a single laugh. Read more
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