Harry is a retired teacher in his seventies living in an area of New York City where he & his deceased wife raised his children - where he's lived all his life. When the building he lives in is torn down to make way for a parking garage, Harry and his cat Tonto begin a journey across America, visiting his children, seeing a world he never seemed to have the time to see before, making new friends and saying goodbye to old ones.
Art Carney ... Harry Coombes
René Enríquez ... Jesus
Herbert Berghof ... Jacob Rivetowski
Michael McCleery ... Mugger
Avon Long ... Leroy
Rashel Novikoff ... Mrs. Rothman
Philip Bruns ... Burt Coombes (as Phil Bruns)
Cliff De Young ... Burt Coombes Jr.
Josh Mostel ... Norman Coombes (as Joshua Mostel)
Dolly Jonah ... Elaine Coombes
Sybil Bowan ... Old Landlady
Joe Madden ... Panhandler
Movies like this are generally not my thing, but being that I have a great love for cats I checked it out and thoroughly enjoyed it. Art Carney is great as an old man living in a NYC apt. with his cat Tonto, who must move when the building is being torn down. Life with relatives is not for him, he finds though, so through a series of misadventures he ends up hitchiking across country with Tonto. I was genuinely moved by the last 10 or 15 minutes, actually shed a tear or two, but the ending itself leaves one wondering exactly what happened with Harry. At any rate, a real joy, this one, for animal lovers and also for anyone that likes an old movie with no car crashes, explosions, gangstas, etc.!! Highly recommended.
Art Carney was a quiet, quirky genius and this film is a lasting testament to his talent.
It's a story about how an -average- man (actually not average at all, as we come to find out) lives a life of dignity and confronts the chaos of modern existence--including that most devastating of inevitabilities, mortality and, particularly, old age .
Besides Carney, watch for superb ensemble acting from Ellen Burstyn, Larry Hagman, the inimitable Chief Dan George, Arthur Hunnicutt, and a host of great character actors from the 70's.
Unlike so many contemporary scripts from the late 60's and early 70's, the cultural references seem interesting and historical and not dated, probably because--like everything else in this film--they are treated with respect and a sense of mercy.
If this film had been made by a French director in 1974, it would be heralded as a major classic. Oh, well.
Watch it. Savor it. This is really something special.
Every good fish-out-of-water story has a hook. In this film, it's not excitement or glamour or derring-do (well, no more derring-do than an aging retiree can muster) that moves events along, but the very real strength of human connection based on the frailty of human nature.
Harry is literally carried out of his NY apartment slated for demolition, and must learn to re- define home by going on an odyssey he never would have planned. He begins as an unwilling participant -- but because he has one remaining link to the life he knew (the tail-waving Tonto), he remains able and willing to see what's around the next bend.
Encountering children and grandchildren, bus drivers and prostitutes, old flames and old farts, each with their own agenda, Harry stays true to the notion of not reaching home until he knows he's truly arrived -- and that requires letting go of his need to matter to someone, as well as accepting the importance of his mattering to himself. It is one of the sweetest and most human (non-mythical) journeys you'll encounter on film.