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| 1 November 2015 | Reply

Directed by Paul Mazursky
Starring Art Carney, Ellen Burstyn
Reviewed by Shane Pinnegar

Harry & Tonto Shock DVD

Hollywood Gold this film definitively is – but sadly mostly forgotten nowadays, which is a shame as many of its themes of urban renewal, dislocation of long-term residents in the name of ‘progress’, and senior citizens struggling to fit into modern society are still resonant today, despite the movie being made in 1974.

Harry is wonderfully played with subtlety and nuance by Art Carney, deservedly winning the Best Actor Oscar and Golden Globe gongs for his work – ahead of Al Pacino in Godfather II, Jack Nicholson in Chinatown, Dustin Hoffman in Lenny and Albert Finney in Murder On The Orient Express – no mean feat at all. Director Paul Mazursky and his co-writer Josh Greenfeld were also nominated for the Best Screenplay Oscar, and the film for the Best Motion Picture Musical/Comedy Golden Globe.

Harry and his beloved pet cat Tonto are forcibly evicted from the flat where they have lived for many years – the home Harry shared with his dearly departed wife. With most of his friends passed away and his home ripped from him – a bittersweet act as the neighbourhood had plummeted into little more than a slum and Harry keeps getting mugged – he finds himself with precious few options.

Never one to travel far and wide, his first tentative steps take him to his dysfunctional family – a son and daughter each with their own problems and own families. We see Harry as his horizons slowly widen – bloom is probably a better description – and he travels further afield, meeting an odd variety of people from the hooker-with-a-heart-of-gold Stephanie (Barbara Rhoades), the Indian Sam Two Feathers (Chief Dan George), his grandson Norman (Josh Mostel), the quirky young hitchhiker Ginger (Melanie Mayron), and more.

Carney was only 56 at the time of filming, playing a much older part, but he brings a gentle, fatherly grace to Harry, and is ably supported by Tonto (Tonto), in this wonderful, heartwarming movie with many important messages which you should check out or revisit as a priority.

Category: Movie & Theatre Reviews

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