Monkey Reviews

Through the Eyes of A Chimp

Monkey Reviews

September 12, 2007

HARRY AND TONTO – Chimp takes a Road Trip

There’s a fine line between a movie that is past it’s prime and a movie that proves itself to be a Classic. Harry and Tonto avoids the descriptor of “dated and cheesy” simply by being real, both in it’s storyline and it’s characterization and thus can consider itself among the Movie Greats.

If it were made today, Harry and Tonto would be dubbed as “indie” but I imagine this 1970’s classic was simply seen as unique and one of a kind, defying classification.

Harry, played by Art Carney, better known for Jackie Gleason’s sidekick in the Honeymooners, is a man who, late in life, must begin a journey due to circumstances outside of his control. Who would have known this actor had such depth. In Harry and Tonto, it’s Art Carney’s character who has a sidekick; a sidekick that despite his humble genetic makeup, is crucial to the meaning of the story. Every pilgim needs a companion and Tonto, his marmalade cat, is the perfect accompaniment; endearing and yet still a feline unto himself.

What prompts his journey is a circumstance that is common to many: loss of home and place. Some people dig in their heels, bury their head in the sand and refuse to see beyond their immediate situation. While initially this is a temptation, Harry chooses to enter the journey and discover the gifts that wait for him. Like any good journey, it’s the people you meet on the way, that prove to be the boon and yet Harry turns this on its head; he too becomes the treasure that other’s discover. He is especially a gift to those who have also lost their way and are looking for their bearings.

Like any true wisdom figure, Harry is both sage and human – he is cranky at times but also deeply compassionate and in-tune. Where his humility lies is in his connection to Tonto – whenever there is an honouring of nature and our “familiars” there is a deepening of the soul and somehow the spirit feels the invitation to join in.

Hope you enjoy this “classic” as much as the Chimp did.