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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

Harvey [Blu-ray]

 

(Henry Koster, 1950)

 

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: Universal International Pictures

Video: Universal

 

Disc:

Region: FREE! (as verified by the Momitsu region FREE Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 1:44:22.297

Disc Size: 33,778,668,822 bytes

Feature Size: 29,334,214,656 bytes

Video Bitrate: 31.99 Mbps

Chapters: 18

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: August 28th, 2012

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 1.33:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Audio:

DTS-HD Master Audio English 2049 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 2049 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
DTS Audio French 448 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 448 kbps / 24-bit
DTS Audio Spanish 768 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 24-bit

 

Subtitles:

English (SDH), French, Spanish, none

 

Extras:

Introduction by Jimmy Stewart with Photo Montage (7:10)

• 100 Years of Universal: Carl Leammle Era (8:41)

100 Years of Universal: Lew Wasserman Era (8:50)

• Theatrical Trailer (1:27)

• My Scenes

DVD and Digital Copy

 

Bitrate:

 

 

Description: James Stewart gives one of his finest performances in this lighthearted film, based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning play. Stewart stars as the good-natured Elwood P. Dowd, whose constant companion is Harvey, a six-foot tall rabbit that only he can see. To his sister, Veta Louise, Elwood’s obsession with Harvey has been a thorn in the side of her plans to marry off her daughter. But when Veta Louise decides to put Elwood in a mental hospital, a hilarious mix-up occurs and she finds herself committed instead. It’s up to Elwood to straighten out the mess with his kindly philosophy, and his “imaginary” friend, in this popular classic that features a Best Supporting Actress Academy Award-wining performance by Josephine Hull.

 

 

The Film:

This whimsical fantasy about a local drunk's 6' 3 1/2" imaginary rabbit pal was a smash hit (and a Pulitzer Prize winner) on Broadway and was then adapted into this likeable farce that's also an allegory about tolerance. James Stewart stars as Elwood P. Dowd, a wealthy tippler whose sunny philosophy and inebriated antics are tolerated by most of the citizenry. That is, until Elwood begins claiming that he sees a "pooka" (a mischievous Irish spirit), which has taken the form of a man-sized bunny named Harvey. Although everyone is certain that Elwood has finally lost his mind, Harvey's presence begins to have magically positive effects on the townsfolk, with the exception of Elwood's own sister Veta (Josephine Hull), who, ironically, can also occasionally see Harvey. A snooty socialite, Veta is determined to marry off her daughter, Myrtle (Victoria Horne), to somebody equally respectable, and Elwood's lunacy is interfering. When Veta attempts to have Elwood committed to an insane asylum, however, the result is that she is accidentally admitted instead of her brother. Then the institution's director, Dr. Chumley (Cecil Kellaway), begins seeing Harvey, too. Hull, who reprised her part from the stage production, won an Oscar and a Golden Globe.

Excerpt from MRQE located HERE

For, with all due respect to the people who have done the Mary Chase play or the stage (and this includes some of the people now doing it on the screen), this genial translation of the classic, which Universal-International has turned out, possesses the novelty and vigor of a fresh theatrical surprise. Indeed, so freely flowing is the screenplay which Mrs. Chase and Oscar Brodney have prepared, so vivid and droll is the direction which Henry Koster has given it and, particularly, so darling is the acting of James Stewart, Josephine Hull and all the rest that a virtually brand new experience is still in store for even those who saw the play..

Excerpt from the NY Times located HERE

Image :    NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

Harvey looks about as good as it can on Blu-ray from Universal.  The image quality shows some minor grain gibing it a bit of texture. Contrast is well layered with some decent detail. It is visually bright with only a few speckles in the beginning as its only insignificant black-mark. The transfer is dual-layered with a very high bitrate. By modern standards this is fairly tame visually but as a representation of the original - I doubt it could attain a closer facsimile on digital. There is even a touch of depth in the outdoor scenes. This Blu-ray probably looks like the film Harvey and it advances beyond the last SD-DVD editions to offer a wonderful presentation.

 

CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio :

Frank Skinner's (who also composed for Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein among other titles) breezy score sounds fine via the DTS-HD Master 2.0 channel track at 2049 kbps. This is an exceptionally passive film with no demonstrative effects at all and the dialogue is even and crisp. There are optional subtitles and my Momitsu has identified it as being a region FREE disc playable on Blu-ray machines worldwide.

 

Extras :

The only supplements are a 7-minute introduction by Jimmy Stewart accompanied by a photo montage. This was recorded in March of 1990 and Stewart describes his fondness for the role and story. We get two of the Universal '100 Years' video pieces - 100 Years of Universal: Carl Leammle Era and Lew Wasserman Era - both just shy pof 9-minutes each. There is a theatrical trailer and the disc is 'My Scenes' capable. There is a second disc - a DVD of the Feature and instructions for a Digital Copy download for use with portable devices.

 

 

BOTTOM LINE:
Harvey is such a warm and amusing film. Stewart gives a memorable performance as the lead character - a simple man who reminds us all of the important aspects of life. Harvey is something I could (and have) watch yearly. A perfect film for a Sunday afternoon. The Blu-ray gives the definitive digital presentation for your Home Theater and we can surely recommend to fans of Jimmy Stewart and the film! 

Gary Tooze

August 26th, 2012


 

About the Reviewer: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 9500 DVDs and have reviewed over 5000 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.

Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction.

Gary's Home Theatre:

60-Inch Class (59.58” Diagonal) 1080p Pioneer KURO Plasma Flat Panel HDTV PDP6020-FD

Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD Player
Momitsu - BDP-899 Region FREE Blu-ray player
Marantz SA8001 Super Audio CD Player
Marantz SR7002 THX Select2 Surround Receiver
Tannoy DC6-T (fronts) + Energy (centre, rear, subwoofer) speakers (5.1)

APC AV 1.5 kVA H Type Power Conditioner 120V

Gary W. Tooze

 

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