Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB.
USA, 1974. Screenplay by Paul Mazursky, Josh Greenfeld. Cinematography by Michael C. Butler. Produced by Paul Mazursky. Music by Bill Conti. Production Design by Ted Haworth. Costume Design by Albert Wolsky. Film Editing by Richard Halsey.
Aging New Yorker Harry (Art Carney, in an Oscar-winning performance) is evicted from his Manhattan apartment building with his cat Tonto, so they go live with his son’s family in the suburbs. Finding life there unbearable, Harry decides to fly to Chicago where his daughter (Ellen Burstyn) lives, but a series of complications (mostly involving Tonto) prevent him from making his flight. Instead, he goes on a cross-country trip where he meets a colourful assortment of characters (none more delightful than Melanie Mayron as a misguided teenager) who all benefit from his kindness and wisdom. Carney is superb, as is Burstyn in her cameo, and Paul Mazursky’s laid back direction pitch perfect. The screenplay is both intelligent and sentimentally warm.
Academy Award: Best Actor (Art Carney)
Nomination: Best Original Screenplay
Golden Globe Award: Best Actor-Musical/Comedy (Art Carney)
Nomination: Best Picture-Musical/Comedy