The Plot Against Harry

Event time: 
Saturday, October 8, 2022 - 4:00pm to 5:20pm
Humanities Quadrangle (HQ) See map
320 York Street
New Haven, CT 06511

To celebrate Michael Roemer’s career, Films at the Whitney and Treasures from the Yale Film Archive join forces to present a new 35mm print of Michael’s lesser-known, but no-less-masterful feature film The Plot Against Harry. Jonathan Rosenbaum, who listed it among his 1,000 Personal Favorite Films, writes: “Shot in black and white in 1969, but neither completed nor shown until 1989, this delightful, offbeat comedy about a sad-eyed, small-time New York numbers racketeer named Harry Plotnick (Martin Priest) who has just emerged from prison after many years, was written and directed by Michael Roemer, whose only well-known previous feature was the skillful Nothing but a Man (1964), about the experiences of a black couple living in Alabama. Finding that life has passed him by, Harry gamely tries to buy his way into middle-class respectability, even though his wife despises him and he’s a total stranger to his kids. In the course of conducting business, he passes through a picaresque succession of locations and noisy events — bar mitzvah, fashion show, dog-training session, and an endless stream of parties — yet the movie’s pace is leisurely, the humor quiet and affectionate in striking contrast to the brassy world he moves through. Beautifully shot (by coproducer Robert M. Young, a director in his own right) and cast with a wonderful bunch of unknowns (who include Ben Lang, Maxine Woods, Henry Nemo, Jacques Taylor, Jean Leslie, Ellen Herbert, and Sandra Kazan), this is both a lovely piece of filmmaking and an exquisitely detailed portrait of a milieu and period, sealed as if in a time capsule.” 81 minutes.