Landing right in the middle of his richest period is this Alfred Hitchcock lark, a curious comedy that neither looks back at Rear Window nor ahead to Vertigo, but rather exists in some goofy space all its own. It’s as if Hitchcock went on vacation, but kept working. Filmed in throbbing Technicolor and expansive VistaVision, the film takes place in a sun-dappled rural community where a body mysteriously appears in the autumnal hills. The corpse is met as a bothersome inconvenience by those who stumble across it – including a bumbling hunter (Edmund Gwenn), an aspiring artist (John Forsythe) and a single mother (Shirley MacLaine) – and their efforts to deal with this annoyance comprise most of the farce. A spirited irreverence for the power of death pervades – think of The Trouble With Harry as a relief valve compared to most of Hitchcock’s other films.
Maps to the Stars
David Cronenberg goes to Hollywood