Alfred Hitchcock is known to the majority of people as a director of iconic horror movies, which is rather peculiar, as his psychological thrillers can hardly be called “horror” in modern understanding of the word and, in fact, constituted only one half of his creative work together with spy stories. The much less known part of his work is Trouble with Harry, belonging to such a surprising for Hitchcock genre as comedy.
Although most of his films contain elements of irony and black humor, this film can be called a comedy in its full right; a very macabre comedy still, however. It is built on such plot device as major misunderstanding. Several rather eccentric, yet practical dwellers of a small town discover in turn a corpse of a recently deceased man, with everybody believing that somebody he cares about killed him. For the whole length of the film they hide, bury, dig out, re-bury in another place, dig out again, wash and finally present it to the police. However gruesome it may seem to be, Hitchcock’s masterful exposition of the characters’ personalities and reactions make the plotline really interesting and funny.
Typical for Hitchcock’s films, Trouble with Harry contains a plot device Hitchcock called “McGuffin” – something that is of no interest to the viewer but of extreme importance to the majority of characters who are constantly trying to find out more about it, thus moving the plot forward. In this case, the McGuffin is the corpse with the whole plot revolving around it.
While being uncharacteristic of Hitchcock, the film deserves to be seen, at least for this very fact – it is the work of a Master that is considerably different from all the rest of his works.