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Scarecrow on Seattle: HARRY IN YOUR POCKET

For the past few years, Scarecrow Video has been contributing reviews of movies made in the Pacific Northwest to the Seattle Office of Film + Music's e-newsletter. We're now proud to be able to share these reviews on our site as well.

 

 

 

 

 

Harry in Your Pocket (1973)
Like Cinderella Liberty and McQ, Harry in Your Pocket captures that early seventies Seattle vibe. As a matter of fact, Harry shares some locations with those other films and the trio forms a nice time capsule of Seattle back before it became the high-tech, happening place it is today. James Coburn stars as a master pickpocket named Harry who has the annoying habit of referring to himself in third person. His longtime partner in crime is an elderly fellow named Casey played by Walter Pidgeon (who practically steals the show). When we first meet these two they are at the Sea-Tac Airport hanging around one of the gates. Harry has an elegant room in the Fairmont Olympic Hotel (it was just called The Olympic Hotel back in '73) with a great view of Elliott Bay and downtown Seattle. Harry and Casey soon make the acquaintance of two younger pickpocket wanna-be's named Ray (Michael Sarrazin) and Sandy (Trish Van Devere). We are introduced to Ray and Sandy at Union Station, which is looking pretty sharp even though it was on the verge of being shut down. Harry and Casey take Ray and Sandy under their wing and begin an intensive pickpocket training session in Seattle. The gang practices their trade around Belltown, Downtown, Occidental Park and Pioneer Square. There's lots of vintage Seattle in the background during this portion of the film and Wesley Uhlman (former Seattle mayor) even has a cameo as a potential mark. And what Seattle crime spree would be complete without a ride on the monorail to the Seattle Center? Eventually the thieves start to feel the heat and leave town. First they take a ferry up to Victoria and the gang ends up in Salt Lake City for the film's finale. Harry in Your Pocket is a quirky seventies film with lots of strengths (like Walter Pidgeon and all the great Seattle footage) and some significant weaknesses (wooden acting and an overbearing Lalo Schifrin score). It's clear that the film's director (Bruce Geller, perhaps best known for creating the Mission: Impossible TV series) was inspired by European films like Pickpocket but he's no Bresson. For years Harry in Your Pocket was a hard film to track down but a DVD was recently released as part of MGM's Limited Edition Collection. --Spenser Hoyt

 

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