Thursday, February 3, 2011

Movie lines I love: this time in honor of the Year of the Rabbit

I cannot think of a better way to usher in the YEAR OF THE RABBIT than by paying tribute to the quixotic and quirky film Harvey, starring Jimmy Stewart as Elwood P. Dowd. 

ELWOOD P. DOWD:  I'd just put Ed Hickey into a taxi. Ed had been mixing his rye with his gin, and I just felt that he needed conveying. Well, anyway, I was walking down along the street and I heard this voice saying, "Good evening, Mr. Dowd." Well, I turned around and here was this big six-foot rabbit leaning up against a lamp-post. Well, I thought nothing of that because when you've lived in a town as long as I've lived in this one, you get used to the fact that everybody knows your name. And naturally I went over to chat with him. And he said to me... he said, "Ed Hickey was a little spiffed this evening, or could I be mistaken?" Well, of course, he was not mistaken. I think the world and all of Ed, but he was spiffed. Well, we talked like that for awhile and then I said to him, I said, "You have the advantage on me. You know my name and I don't know yours." And, and right back at me he said, "What name do you like?" Well, I didn't even have to think twice about that. Harvey's always been my favorite name. So I said to him, I said, "Harvey." And, uh, this is the interesting thing about the whole thing: He said, "What a coincidence. My name happens to be Harvey."

ELWOOD P. DOWD:  Harvey and I sit in the bars... have a drink or two... play the juke box. And soon the faces of all the other people they turn toward mine and they smile. And they're saying, "We don't know your name, mister, but you're a very nice fella." Harvey and I warm ourselves in all these golden moments. We've entered as strangers - soon we have friends. And they come over... and they sit with us... and they drink with us... and they talk to us. They tell about the big terrible things they've done and the big wonderful things they'll do. Their hopes, and their regrets, and their loves, and their hates. All very large, because nobody ever brings anything small into a bar. And then I introduce them to Harvey... and he's bigger and grander than anything they offer me. And when they leave, they leave impressed. The same people seldom come back; but that's envy, my dear. There's a little bit of envy in the best of us.

ELWOOD P. DOWD:  Well, I've wrestled with reality for 35 years, Doctor, and I'm happy to state I finally won out over it. 
 - from Harvey (1950)

1951 Best Supporting Actress Oscar won by Josephine Hull for her role as Veta Louise Simmons in Harvey.



mythopolis said...

Thanks for the memory, that was too funny! My fav part near the end is Chumley fantasizing about how he'd like to lie under a maple tree with some strange and beautiful woman who would caress his head and say," poor poor poor thing" : )

Anonymous said...

Hey there!
I was searching old postcards and came to you blog. One postcard, that you blogged about two years ago in february, was finnish and you couldn't translate it (about your grandmother). It says something like this: Greetings from your homeland, we are all well. Best of luck as the winter comes, wishes your father J.Laitamäki.
It is sent from Kauhava, Finland.
I hope you find this usefull,
Anne From Finland =)

Phivos Nicolaides said...

This is so interesting!

Lydia said...

mythopolis~ So funny...the whole movie! Doing this post made me want to see it again. Also, thinking about Harvey is mental refreshment from the news...

Anne from Finland~ You cannot possibly know how much your comment means to me! This is a big help to have the translation. Now I know it is from a member of my cousin's (who lives in Lapua, Finland) family and I will let him know about the card. Many thanks to you!

Phivos~ Yes, it is a strange and funny little bit of 1950s American culture!

Hattie said...

Boy that was one strange movie. Thanks for the memory. Just be sure when you shake hands with Harvey that you are shaking the right thing. (Punch line of old playground joke.)

Darlene said...

I never did see the movie Harvey. It sounds like I missed something worthwhile. I do remember all the talk about Harvey though.

Oh well, I have missed many things in life and what you don't know won't hurt you. ;-)

susan said...

Most definitely one of my all time favorite movies and not just when I was little either - but one I haven't seen for years now.

How about one more good one:

'You see, science has overcome time and space. Well, Harvey has overcome not only time and space, but any objections.'

Lydia said...

Hattie~ Sounds like quite a playground! I'm not surprised that this movie generated at least one joke and there were probably more. The Harvey costume should be in The Smithsonian!

Darlene~ That is the right attitude.... but if you really really really wanted to see it you could watch it with closed caps. You got the gist of it with the photo and some quotes. :)

susan~ I love the quote you remembered! You love the movie like I do so would undoubtedly agree that basically the entire film is quotable.
I really need to see this flick soon now. :)

Freda said...

I vaguely remember seeing the movie, but as I can remember very little I have the pleasure of being able to watch it again. It's going on the list.

ds said...

I remember loving this movie, but cannot recall any of the lines. Thank you for remembering so many. Must watch this again (and again and again)!!
And thank you for visiting my place today & leaving a little bit of yourself there.

Fireblossom said...

My father loved "Harvey." How could I not? :-)

Lydia said...

Freda~ I am happy that it is on your list, as it is also on mine!

ds~ Thank you so much for visiting my blog and for joining the I-want-to-watch-Harvey-again club. :)
Your profile pic is marvelous. It looks like my grandmother's old typewriter, an item I prize.

Fireblossom~ Exactly. How could you not? Harvey is the movie we could have watched together on our imaginary movie day when we were both sick! That would have been ideal. :)

mythopolis said...

Hey Lydia, thanks for your recent comment on my site. I did follow it with a reply about Louise Bryant. (Just wanted to mention that in case you weren't linked back to the site)

Dee Newman said...


Harvey is one of my all time favorite movies.

Nearly every line in that movie is a gem.

Perhaps my four favorites lines are:

"Myrtle Mae, you have a lot to learn, and I hope you never learn it." – Veta Louise

"I always have a wonderful time, wherever I am, whomever I'm with." – Elwood

"Years ago, my mother used to say to me, she'd say "In this world, Elwood, you can be oh so so smart, or oh so pleasant." Well, for years I was smart... I recommend pleasant. You may quote me." – Elwood

And last but certainly not least:

"Fly specks, fly specks! I've been spending my life among fly specks while miracles have been leaning on lampposts at 18th and Fairfax!" – Dr Chumley

Don't Feed The Pixies said...

yeah - what more can i say?

Harvey is a great film. James Stewart was just so effortless in his films - a joy to watch

Definately my favourite film about a rabbit

Though i quite enjoyed Donnie Darko

Stickup Artist said...

I just recently began watching black and white movie classics and film noir on Netflix and have added this one to my queue. It is a great way to study black and white photography and the mood and drama that it can impart to a scene. This looks quite enjoyable and more light-hearted from many I've been watching.

Lydia said...

mythopolis~ Thanks; I will come read it. You sure do have a lot of interesting blogs!

Dee Newman~ Oh, absolutely, last last line you mentioned! Thank you for adding these great lines from Harvey. You are right...nearly every line in the film is a gem, making the movie priceless. :)

Pixies~ I really must see Donnie Darko! The name keeps popping up in my view all over the place.
I admire Jimmy Stewart's acting and would have a difficult time selecting my favorite among his films.

Stickup Artist~ Your recent viewing sounds fantastic to me. I love film noir and the old B&W films. They are hard to beat. When we recently upgraded our cable I was hoping that the AMC channel would have more of them than I have noticed thus far. We may just have to get netflix too.



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