He looked exactly the same when he was alive, only he was vertical…
Laughter is a strange beast.
Sometimes we laugh because we're happy. Sometimes we laugh because we're sad. Sometimes we laugh because we feel awkward or uneasy. Sometimes we laugh because somebody else laughed. Sometimes we laugh because nobody else laughed. Sometimes we laugh because we heard a really good joke. Sometimes we laugh because we saw somebody get really hurt. Sometimes we laugh because a cat skid across the floor in a cereal box. Sometimes we laugh because we just did something that nearly got us killed.
Sometimes we laugh because we suddenly become aware of how drunk we're getting. Sometimes we laugh because we suddenly become aware of how drunk everyone else is getting. Sometimes we laugh because we hear a lyric in a song and we know it's a nod to or a prod at another song. Sometimes we laugh because we pick up a children's book and realise there are unintended innuendos in it. Sometimes we laugh because a dead man is wearing a strangely bright pair of socks. Sometimes we laugh because it just seems like the right thing to do…
Laughter is a strange beast.
This film made for a nice bit of light relief from some of the more serious films in Hitch's collection and was just what was needed to see me in to the difficult slog of a middle-section that this task has become! It was genuinely funny and a lot of the old humour has stood the test of time leaving it a charming and quotable experience.
The only thing about this film that had dated was the love story. From strangers to a marriage proposal all before supper; it just didn't stick. But then again, taking into account the absurdity of the plot in general and particularly that all but one (more on him in a moment) of the characters really didn't seem to mind one way or another that there was a dead man just lying around in the countryside, perhaps it was supposed to come across that way?
The silliness did manage to throw the viewer off guard though with what has to be the best example of a MacGuffin in a Hitchcock movie so far. This involved the rather miserable police officer (the only serious character in the film, one who wouldn't have been too far out of place in a Tarantino movie with his sly and passive aggressive demeanor) and a cupboard door that just wouldn't stay shut! You think you know what's coming… but you don't!
Special credit goes to Philip Truex who plays the corpse (Harry) in this film. His face is never seen and even though the artist, Sam (John Forsyth - who just happened to be in Topaz, the film I watched before this, the only other Hitchcock film he stars in coincidentally) paints him, it appears to be a completely random face he has drawn rather than the real actors… which in itself I can't help but think must have been another intentional joke!