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Harriet the Spy

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Harriet the Spy
Harriet-The-Spy
Directed by: Bronwen Hughes
Produced by: Marykay Powell
Debby Beece
Written by: Douglas Petrie
Theresa Rebeck
Music by: Jamshied Sharifi
Cinematography: Francis Kenny
Editing by: Debra Chiate
Distributed by: Paramount Pictures
Release date: July 10, 1996
Running time: 100 minutes
Film rating: Pg rating
IMDb profile
HarrietTheSpyPoster

Official movie poster

Harriet the Spy is a 1996 comedy-drama film adaptation of the 1964 novel of the same name by Louise Fitzhugh, and starring Michelle Trachtenberg as the title character. This film was directed by Bronwen Hughes, produced by Paramount Pictures, Nickelodeon Movies and Rastar. This was the first film that was produced under the Nickelodeon Movies banner, and the first of two film adaptations of the Harriet the Spy books (the second, Harriet the Spy: Blog Wars, would be produced as a Nickelodeon Original Movie).

Plot

Harriet (Michelle Trachtenberg) is an 11-year-old sixth grader and a spy/writer who is best friends with Simon Rocque (Gregory Smith) and Janie Gibbs (Vanessa Chester). She lives a privileged life with her parents and her nanny, Golly (Rosie O'Donnell) who's the only person who knows all the things that Harriet has been snooping on. Harriet and her friends are enemies with mainly Marion Hawthorne (Charlotte Sullivan). For awhile, Harriet lives life very well with being a spy and having fun with Golly.

One night, Golly invites a friend over and Harriet, Golly and Golly's friend go to dinner and a movie, where things turn into a disaster. Mrs. Welch fires Golly for letting Harriet stay out late and then begs her to stay. Golly tells her that Harriet is old enough to take care of herself, much to everyone's protests. After Harriet bids Golly goodbye, she becomes depressed and withdrawn. She even gets caught when investigating the nether regions of Agatha Plummer (Eartha Kitt).

The next morning, she plays with her friends at the park and disaster strikes. Marion Hawthorne finds Harriet's private notebook and begins reading out all of Harriet's vindictive comments on her friends, such as how she suspects Janie will grow up to be a nutcase and mocking Sport's father for barely earning any money. Everyone finds that they're all cruel and hurtful and even Sport and Janie turn their backs on Harriet. The kids create a Spy-Catcher club and torment Harriet on her spy routes.

After running into a police officer and getting zeros on her schoolwork, Harriet gets her notebook taken away by her parents. Her parents tell Harriet's teacher Mrs. Elson (Nancy Beatty) to search Harriet everyday for notebooks much to Harriet's embarrassment. One day, during art, a Marion Hawthorne "accidentally" pours blue paint all over Harriet and she does things to get back at everyone individually.

Harriet's parents find out what she has done to her classmates and send her to be evaluated by a psychologist, who assures them that Harriet is fine. Harriet then tries to apologize to Sport and Janie and soon gets appointed as the editor of the sixth grade paper by her classmates. She apologizes to everyone and all is well. On opening night of the 6th Grade pageant, Janie and Harriet light off a stinkbomb as revenge on Marion and dance until the end of the film.

Cast

Nickelodeon magazine cover june july 1996 rosie odonnell

Rosie O'Donnell and Harriet the Spy on the cover of Nickelodeon Magazine in 1996.

Filming

The film was shot in the Florida cities of Fort Lauderdale and Miami, plus Toronto, Ontario.

Box office and release

The film was released in US theaters on July 10, 1996, and the film grossed $6,601,651 on its opening weekend, averaging about $3,615 per each of the 1,826 screens it was shown on.[1] The film went on to gross a total of $26,570,048 by November 10, 1996, and was considered a box office success, earning back double its $13,000,000 budget.

Home video releases

Cover Format Released
Harriet the Spy VHS VHS February 25, 1997
Bonus feature: "Rugrats Rap" and "Rugrats Rock" music videos
Harriet the Spy DVD DVD May 27, 2003
The movie is presented in widescreen.

Bonus feature: "Rugrats Rap" and "Rugrats Rock" music videos

Reception

The film met with mixed reviews and received a 48% "rotten" rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

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