Monday, March 31, 2014

Harriet the Spy - The Movie

Well, I am sorry to report that the three best things about Harriet the Spy - the movie - are Eartha Kitt in a cotton-candy pink wig, the theme song, and oh, dear, maybe there are only two best things.

I recently discovered the book this Nickelodeon movie is based on about 11-year-old Harriet and her spy route. Harriet carries her notebook with her everywhere she goes and writes down everything she observes because she wants to become a writer and childhood is her training ground. You can read my thoughts on this classic here.

I enjoyed the book - celebrating its fiftieth year. And I will admit that the overall arc of the story in the film followed the original, but the 1996 version of Harriet loses something in the intervening decades.

To me, the casting of Harriet wasn't right. Actually, not one of the kids was very engaging or memorable. For some unknown reason, the grocery store owned by an wild Italian family that Harriet spies on in the book becomes an Oriental store in the movie. Rosie O'Donnell as Golly the Nanny plays her part with absolutely no expression or warmth and has the deadest eyes imaginable. 

The background music seemed very loud and the camera angles and shots were frenetic and dizzying. 

Sigh. Maybe if I were eleven, the movie would have appealed to me. As it is, I will stick with the book. You might want to as well.

Anyway, here is the theme song "The Secretive Life" written and performed by Jill Sobule.

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