Co-writer/ producer/ director Paul Mazursky provides one of Art Carney’s two roles of a lifetime in this 1974 comedy adventure.
Carney deservedly won the 1975 Best Actor Oscar as wise old widower Harry Coombs, a retired 70-something teacher who is evicted from his Upper West Side Manhattan home, along with Tonto, his equally delightful marmalade cat. He has lived all his life in the building but now it is torn down to make way for a parking garage.
They make a cute couple as they get involved in some clever episodes on the road in their American odyssey across the United States, visiting his children, seeing the country, making new friends, and saying goodbye to old ones. If Mazursky’s film sometimes seems to fall over backwards in its search for eccentric charm, then why not? It succeeds in supplying it in abundance.
Carney is just stupendous. His other role of a lifetime is in Robert Benton’s The Late Show.
Never trust anyone who doesn’t love this movie!
Director Mazursky has a cameo as a hustler. He and Josh Greenfeld were Oscar nominated for Best Original Screenplay.
Also in the cast are Ellen Burstyn, Chief Dan George, Geraldine Fitzgerald, Larry Hagman, Arthur Hunnicutt, Josh Mostel, Melanie Mayron, René Enriquez, Herbert Berghof, Michael McCleery, Avon Long, Cliff De Young, Dolly Jonah, Sybil Bowan, Joe Madden, Bette Howard, Rashel Novikoff, Philip Bruns, Cliff Norton, Barbara Rhoades, Philip Roth and Letitia Toole.
© Derek Winnert 2016 Classic Movie Review 4161
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