Double feature: Lots of movies involve death, and thus feature dead bodies…but how many are more concerned with disposing of them than with, in some way or another, grieving for them?
Here are two: “Clue” and “The Trouble with Harry.” Both derive humor from the incongruity of their lack of respect for death – their irreverent treatment of dead bodies as objects rather than vessels of the human spirit.
Both films spin charm from silliness and improbability, and visual interest from highly stylized backgrounds. Each presents us with a platonic ideal of its story’s setting – for “Clue,” a creepy old mansion bedecked in jewel tones; for “The Trouble with Harry,” a small New England town saturated to the dripping point with technicolor hues.
Both films are ostensibly mysteries, but neither really lets us try to solve anything, preferring instead to elbow viewers out of the evidence-gathering way, and to drop fully-fledged answers instead of hints.
Both take place in roughly the same postwar time span. Though they’re loaded with period details, their characters’ preoccupation with respectability may come to seem the most old-fashioned thing about them.
(Creative Commons licensed original images courtesy of “chee.hong” and “Eun Byeol” at Flickr)