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Movie groupings. Group Three.

Harry and Tonto (1974), Larger than Life (1996), and Duck (2009) are grouped together because all feature older men with animal companions. Themes of loneliness, masculinity, aging, and a sense of place pervade all three films.

1. Art Carney (famous as Ed Norton on The Honeymooners) travels west with his orange tabby cat, Tonto, in Harry and Tonto. Harry is a retired New York teacher in his 70s in New York, where he’s lived his whole life. Harry drives across the United States with Tonto, visiting his children, and seeing a world he never had time to see before. Carney won a Best Actor Oscar for his performance.

2. In Larger than Life, motivational speaker Bill Murray hits the road after getting a telegram from an attorney in Baltimore about the large estate of his recently deceased father. The “large” estate is Tiny the elephant.

3. Philip Baker Hall stars as Arthur in Duck. Recently widowed, his savings wiped out by his wife’s illness, and their only son long dead, Arthur adopts and is adopted by a duckling he names Joe whom he cares for Joe and keeps clean Joe’s pond on land near his son’s memorial tree. When the pond is drained, Arthur and Joe head west on a picaresque journey.


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