Funding Approval Details

The Trouble With Harry

Project The Trouble With Harry
Fund Early Development
Year 2017
Type Feature Film
Company Dollhouse Pictures
Producer Jess Carrera
Writer Lachlan Philpott

The Trouble with Harry is inspired by the true story of Eugenia Falleni- a notorious figure in Sydney’s history in the early twentieth century. Falleni spent much of her life as a man named Harry Crawford. She is a complex and compelling character who lived many lives. She was persecuted for crossing the gender divide and accused and acquitted of murder in the sensational trial of the Man, Woman Murderer.

Starting in effect at the end, the film begins with Falleni as an old woman released from prison on the condition that she will never dress in public as a man again. We join her on her last walk before she is hit by a car and killed on Oxford Street in Paddington. We then flash back to the beginning of the story.

Falleni is a poor and illiterate, one of twenty two siblings born in Italy. Their unwillingness to accept her cross-dressing ways is her motivation to flee her motherland. Arriving in New Zealand as a child, she later departs under the guise of Eugene Falleni a young sailor on a ship in the Pacific Ocean. Falleni is brutally raped by the captain who discovers she is a woman. She is then cast off in Newcastle. Pregnant and destitute, she is forced to take on a new life. 

After giving birth to daughter Josephine, Falleni abandons the child and reinvents herself as Harry Crawford- once again taking on a male identity. Crawford marries Annie Birkett. Birkett also has a young sonHarry. Crawford,BirkettandhersonHarrylivetogetherinseveralhomesinSydney-daughter Josephine joins them. The intimate details of their lives take place behind closed doors.

In 1920, Crawford is convicted of the murder of ‘his’ wife Birkett and Crawford’s true identity is shockingly revealed through the media. The tensions in their household are understood to be the catalyst for Josephine to ‘out’ her father as her mother.

Eugenia does not speak on record when imprisoned. Did she do it? We can never know. This is a story with a powerful message about what it means to live in a world where you don’t seem to fit. Eugenia’s plight is equally as relevant today as it was one hundred years ago. 

Disclaimer The Total Finance amount reflects the total advanced through various Screen NSW programs of assistance, but does not take into account any amounts that have been repaid or recouped. Market travel may not be listed where it relates to a slate of projects (as opposed to one title). It should be noted that as historical data is added to the website the Total Finance amount below may be subject to change.
Early Development
Jessica Carrera, Shannon Murphy
$ 20,000.00
Total Finance
$ 20,000.00