“Harry never holds,” we’re told about a thousand times during Harry in Your Pocket. But does he hold up? A mostly-unremembered programmer released in 1973, Harry in Your Pocket played a lot on television in the late ‘70s. It is a good film—not a great film—and with better crime films available from that year (The Sting, Paper Moon, Mean Streets) I get why it’s been overlooked. Yet I still feel it is worth seeing for its glimpse into our burnt orange-and-harvest gold 1970s past and for the top-notch Kino Lorber transfer on their newly released Blu-ray disc.
Tensions soon mount. Casey is a drug addict. Ray is incompetent. Harry has eyes for Sandy. Casey starts training Ray behind Harry’s back. Could Sandy be interested in Harry? Will Ray be the odd man out? Where the hell is my wallet?
Besides Sarrazin’s Sleepy Time Tea performance, Harry in Your Pocket is yet another film where the lead performances seem to be at odds with each other—as if every actor is really in a different movie. Sarrazin thinks he is the lead but is easily upstaged by Coburn and Pidgeon. Coburn phones it in. Pidgeon just seems tired. Trish Van Devere clearly thinks the film is about her. Odd.
The Last of Shelia? Smirking SOB! Affliction, his final film, which garnered him an Oscar? Smirking (sad, older, alcoholic) SOB—Got it!
Understand, I love all of these performances; it just never quite dawned on me before what a limited range Coburn had.
The film really shines in scenes that recreate Harry’s pickpocketing schemes. Watching the film, we learn the argot of this enterprise: Poke, Kick, Cannon, Stall, Steer, and Dip (not to be confused with the 5 Ds of Dodgeball: Dodge, Duck, Dip, Dive, and Dodge.) As I’ve written before, audiences love to see a guy who is good at his job, and Harry and his troop of miscreants become very good indeed.
Kino’s transfer here is nothing short of magnificent; it is one of the best 1970s color transfers I have ever seen. I am not suggesting the film should be watched for its scenery, but the Pacific Northwest here looks awfully good, and if dark brown and bright orange happen to be your favorite colors, then this film is a video feast.
Harry in Your Pocket is available in a beautiful transfer from Kino Lorber. Steal twelve bucks from a stranger and buy it now.