HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Selma
Great Locomotive Chase, The
American Anthem
Lion and the Horse, The
Druids
War of the Wizards
Onward
Doctor Faustus
Spite Marriage
Mask, The
Letter to Jane
Quick Millions
Dream Demon
Max Havelaar
Radioactive
Glastonbury Fayre
All Dogs Go to Heaven
Shoot Out
Da 5 Bloods
Sonatine
Kung Fu Monster
Secret Agent Super Dragon
Saint Frances
Boiling Point
Golden Stallion, The
Dragon Force
Anthropocene: The Human Epoch
Luck of Ginger Coffey, The
Junkers Come Here
Ladius
White, White Day, A
Strong Medicine
Bitter Springs
Centipede Horror
Physical Evidence
Fanny Lye Deliver'd
55 Days at Peking
Alive
Man from Snowy River, The
Inmate #1: The Rise of Danny Trejo
   
 
Newest Articles
Bat-Damn: Was Joel Schumacher's Batman Really That Bad?
The Beat Goes On: Takeshi Kitano Collection on Blu-ray
Dream Treats: Scorsese Shorts on Blu-ray
It's Only Money: Laughter in Paradise on Blu-ray
A Regular Terpsichore: Dance, Girl, Dance on Blu-ray
Teenage Trauma: Baby Love on Blu-ray
The Happening: Pet Shop Boys It Couldn't Happen Here on Blu-ray
Who Watched The Watchmen?
The Golden Age of Colonic Irrigation: Monty Python Series 4 on Blu-ray
Lady of Pleasure: Lola Montes on Blu-ray
Take You to the Gay Bar: Funeral Parade of Roses on Blu-ray
Hit for Ms: Mark Cousins' Women Make Film on Blu-ray
Look Sinister: The 1000 Eyes of Dr. Mabuse on Blu-ray
Star Wars Triple Threat: The Tricky Third Prequel and Sequel
I Can See for Miles: The Man with the X-Ray Eyes on Blu-ray
Too Much Pressure: The Family Way on Blu-ray
The Alan Key: Alan Klein and What a Crazy World on Blu-ray
A Japanese Ghost Story: Kwaidan on Blu-ray
The Zu Gang: Zu Warriors from the Magic Mountain on Blu-ray
Reality TV: The Year of the Sex Olympics on DVD
The Young and the Damned: They Live By Night on Blu-ray
Mind How You Go: The Best of COI on Blu-ray
Der Kommissar's in Town: Babylon Berlin Series 3 on DVD
The End of Civilisation as We Know It: The 50th Anniversary
The Whalebone Box: The Andrew Kotting Interview
   
 
  Harry and Tonto On The Road
Year: 1974
Director: Paul Mazursky
Stars: Art Carney, Ellen Burstyn, Geraldine Fitzgerald, Larry Hagman, Chief Dan George, Arthur Hunnicutt, Melanie Mayron, Herbert Berghof, Philip Bruns, Cliff De Young, Josh Mostel, Dolly Jonah, Cliff Norton, Michael Butler, Clint Young, Barbara Rhoades
Genre: Comedy, DramaBuy from Amazon
Rating:  7 (from 1 vote)
Review: Widower Harry Coombes (Art Carney) lives alone except for his cat in a New York City apartment, but his peaceful existence is about to be disrupted when he learns the block where his home is will soon be demolished to make way for a new car park. Harry isn't going without a fight, and he likes living in this neighbourhood with his dwindling circle of friends, but perhaps he would be better off out of there considering he has been mugged four times already this year. So the time has come to move out, or rather move in - with one of his sons, which he's not happy about, but he has to settle down somewhere...

It wasn't Jack Nicholson who won the Best Actor Oscar in 1975, nor was it Albert Finney, Dustin Hoffman or Al Pacino so who was the titan of big screen acting who did walk away with the prize? That's right, it was Art Carney from T.V.'s The Honeymooners for his understated and unassuming performance in Harry and Tonto, a major upset at the time and cause of much disbelief ever since. It could be that the Academy were feeling sentimental about their favourite T.V. shows, but if you haven't seen the film, or at least not for a while, it's easy to forget the winning charm that the star carried here.

Even though it takes in an epic journey, this is a low key work for the most part, with its emotions only occasionally bubbling up to the surface, preferring a lightly humorous angle on its septuagenarian hero. Although for the first forty minutes or so before Harry finally his the road, it's easy to feel despondent at his situation, thrown out of his apartment and stuck with the arguing and dysfunctional family of his son (Philip Bruns). As if that weren't bad enough, his old pals are dying off around him, and in these early stages it looks as if we're in for a morose time - that cat isn't getting any younger, either.

Then Harry decides to take Tonto the moggy to see his daughter Shirley (Ellen Burstyn), but when it's made clear in no uncertain terms that he cannot be allowed to have his cat accompany him on the plane, he opts to take the bus. It's at this point that the film begins to wake up from under its grey cloud, and when Tonto wishes to relieve himself Harry has to persuade the driver to stop and then Tonto runs away so... Basically the old man takes his cat and his luggage to a used car salesman and buys a little blue vehicle to drive all the way to Chicago in. And as he goes, he encounters a cross section of America in easy to handle pieces, a teenage hitchhiker (Melanie Mayron) here, a Native Indian medicine man (the priceless Chief Dan George) in prison there.

But although director and writer (with Josh Greenfeld) Paul Mazursky can rightly be accused of tending towards the precious in these meetings, even corny in places (as when Harry goes to visit a now-senile past girlfriend - played by Geraldine Fitzgerald - in a retirement home), he never resorts to going over the top in big tearjerking or laughter-inducing sequences. Carney was not the first choice (James Cagney turned the role down), and you could admit he was too young to play Harry (he was picked in case the film flopped so it could be sold to television instead: T.V. star, see?), but he does a marvellous job, illustrating dramatic skills that might have gone unrecorded otherwise. As road movies go, it grows on you the more characters we meet, whether they be a cheerful hooker (Barbara Rhoades) or Harry's less than cheerful other son (Larry Hagman, great in the ten minutes he appears), and casts a beguiling spell that you may not notice until the story is over. Music by Bill Conti.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 2689 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star is the best at shouting?
Arnold Schwarzenegger
Brian Blessed
Tiffany Haddish
Steve Carell
Olivia Colman
Captain Caveman
Sylvester Stallone
Gerard Butler
Samuel L. Jackson
Bipasha Basu
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Paul Smith
Andrew Pragasam
Darren Jones
  Mick Stewart
Enoch Sneed
  Dsfgsdfg Dsgdsgsdg
  Hannah Prosser
   

 

Last Updated: