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Potter not the only Harry who shines on the silver screen

We're just wild about these 10 Harrys on screen

The Trouble with Harry (1955): Alfred Hitchcock's blackest comedy, about a corpse that won't stay buried, and a breakout debut for Shirley MacLaine.

Dirty Harry (1971): A signature role for Clint Eastwood, and the second-best cop flick of the 1970s, after The French Connection.

Harry and Tonto (1974): Art Carney went from Honeymooner to Academy Award winner, in this timeless story of an old man and his cat. Seriously.

Give 'em Hell, Harry (1975): James Whitmore's solo showcase as president Harry Truman. Only one other film ever earned Oscar nominations for the entire cast. (Michael Caine and Laurence Olivier for 1972's Sleuth.)

Harry & Son (1984): Possibly Paul Newman's worst career choice; co-writing, directing and playing Robby Benson's demanding father, like a not-so-great Santini.

Harry and the Hendersons (1987): The only Harry on this list that isn't human. He's a Sasquatch, taken in by a suburban family headed by John Lithgow.

Who's Harry Crumb (1989): Not the finest moment of the late John Candy's career. My two word review of Who's Harry Crumb?: Who cares?

When Harry Met Sally … (1989): The only movie on this list referenced in another title: 2003's Dumb and Dumberer: When Harry Met Lloyd.

Deconstructing Harry (1997): Woody Allen creates an antisocial novelist whose relationships become awkward fodder for his books. Deconstructing Woody is more like it.

Harry Brown (2009): Death Wish for the AARP set, with Michael Caine going all Charlie Bronson on the thugs who murdered his chess buddy.

As you're reading this, Harry Potter and the Shameless Cash Grab: Part 1 is raking in money somewhere around the world.

No, that isn't the title. And there is absolutely no truth to the rumor I'm starting that Warner Bros. wanted to call the movie Harry Potter and the NeverEnding Story but backed off after the luckdragon Falkor threatened to sue.

But you could slap Harry Potter's name before any conjunction and addendum on a theater marquee and fans would stampede. Maybe that's because J.K. Rowling's books forged such strong emotional bonds with readers.

Or maybe because "Harry" is such a good name to include in a movie title.

It's a chummy name, so much that Harrison Ford might be a more cooperative interview subject if he went by "Harry." It's a name with endless pun possibilities, most of them unprintable. It is a name for British royalty (Prince Harry), porn stars (Harry Reems) and more movie titles than the eight that Potter kid will wind up inspiring.

Steve Persall can be reached at persall@sptimes.com or (727) 893-8365. Read his blog, Reeling in the Years, at tampabay.com/blogs/movies.

Potter not the only Harry who shines on the silver screen 11/19/10 [Last modified: Saturday, November 20, 2010 12:41am]

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