Today's guest post is by Peppercommer Catharine Cody.
That was my reaction to the Broadway revival, Harvey.
Allow me to explain…
A few weekends ago, I had the chance to see one of my all-time FAVORITE movies on Broadway. Written in 1944 by American playwright Mary Chase, “Harvey” was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1945. After a brief stint on the stage, the play was made into a movie starring Jimmy Stewart. You may remember him from “It’s a Wonderful Life” and “Rear Window,” but in my mind, he’s synonymous with that big white rabbit, 6 feet 3 and a half inches tall, named Harvey.
For those of you unfamiliar with the storyline, “Harvey” is about a grown man who has an imaginary friend named Harvey. Harvey is a big, white rabbit sometimes referred to as a pooka. The story takes place in the span of one day when a woman decides to commit her older brother, Elwood P. Dowd (Jimmy Stewart)to an insane asylum. It’s a heart-warming flick on the top of my all-time favorite movie list, along with “Gone with the Wind” and “The Mummy.”(I know, odd choices, but to each his own!)
I was spellbound when I first saw the movie “Harvey.” From the opening line of “every day is a lovely day,” to the last scene when Harvey and Stewart walk home, I was captivated. As a member of generation Y, one might think that I wouldn’t enjoy a black and white flick. But boy, do I. Anything sans color is right up my alley.
So, you can imagine my excitement when my father bought us two seats to see the revival of the play, “Harvey,” starring Jim Parsons. I knew that no one would be able to come close to Stewart. But, I went in with an open mind. The writing speaks for itself. Anyone delivering the lines Chase penned would be sure to evoke the same emotions, right? Not so much.
Stepping over the fact that some of the best scenes were cut entirely, some of the lines that WERE kept in the play were totally butchered. Jimmy Stewart has a certain presence that just cannot be copied. He delivers his lines perfectly, slowly and warmly. Jim Parsons, who played Elwood P. Dowd in the new play, reported that he never saw the original movie. Parsons rushed through some of the most heart-warming lines and completely butchered the meaning.
In one scene, Stewart explains how he came upon the name “Harvey” for his rabbit-friend. His psychiatrist asks, “Didn’t you know anyone-ever, whose name was Harvey?” To which Stewart replies, “No, maybe that’s why I always had such high hopes.” In the movie, this line is a stitch. I crack up immediately when he says it. Well, in the play, Parsons rushes right through it barely eliciting a chuckle from the audience.
No one, in my opinion, can live up to Jimmy Stewart’s Elwood P. Dowd. Jim Parsons tries- and fails.
Now to all you folks reading this, I’ve got to go hang out with one of MY best friends. He’s a dog. His name is Rooney. He’s visible, but still a pookah. Oh, and my regards to you and anyone else you should happen to meet along the way…