Harry & Son

Fuzzily conceived and indecisively executed, Harry & Son represents a deeply disappointing return to the director's chair for Paul Newman. Cowritten and coproduced by the star as well, pic [suggested by the novel A Lost King by Raymond DeCapite] never makes up its mind who or what it wants to be about and, to compound the problem, never finds a proper style in which to convey the tragicomic events that transpire.

With:
Paul Newman Robby Benson Ellen Barkin Wilford Brimley Judith Ivey Joanne Woodward

Fuzzily conceived and indecisively executed, Harry & Son represents a deeply disappointing return to the director’s chair for Paul Newman. Cowritten and coproduced by the star as well, pic [suggested by the novel A Lost King by Raymond DeCapite] never makes up its mind who or what it wants to be about and, to compound the problem, never finds a proper style in which to convey the tragicomic events that transpire.

Opening scenes are perhaps the strongest, as Newman gets fired from his job as a Florida construction worker due to an ailment which momentarily blinds him. He goads his son into expanding his horizons beyond polishing cars and pretending to be a young Hemingway.

As presented, Newman’s character is in a position either to give up on life or make a fresh start, and perhaps film’s overriding frustration is that he goes nowhere. Structurally, it’s a mess.

Harry & Son

Production: Orion. Dir Paul Newman; Producer Paul Newman, Ronald L. Buck; Screenplay Ronald L. Buck, Paul Newman; Camera Donald McAlpine; Editor Dede Allen; Music Henry Mancini Art Dir Henry Bumstead

Crew: (Color) Available on VHS, DVD. Extract of a review from 1984. Running time: 117 MIN.

With: Paul Newman Robby Benson Ellen Barkin Wilford Brimley Judith Ivey Joanne Woodward

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