MovieChat Forums > Harry and Tonto (1974) Discussion > At the very end the little girl making a...

At the very end the little girl making a sandcaste, what did it mean


In the very last scene Harry plays with the little girl making a sandcastle on the beach, did this mean anything? I believe that a little earlier the lady on the bench who offered Harry a place to live represented the possibility of romance, he then follows an orange tabby onto the beach which might be the new Tonto. I just wonder if the little girl meant anything. I would guess it represented Harry starting to come alive again in his new LA home.

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I think that's about right. It occurs to me that the movie opens with a montage of "elderly people," about whom we should care but who are, after all, near the end of their lives.

At film's end, the almost-last shot is of...a little girl. A child. Building a sandcastle.

Her whole life is ahead of her and a "new Tonto" has led Harry to her.

How aggravating for me, though: all these years later, the shot of an old man coming up to a little girl on the beach(with no parents in nearby view) is just a TRIFLE disturbing. Its what decades of a more paranoid and predatory society has done to my mind.

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You can interpret the scene many ways I guess. Its the old meeting the young type of thing. You do get the feeling that Harry is starting over more or less.


"A real man would rather bow down to a strong woman than dominate a weak one"

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I think it was just a life-goes-on ending. A new Tonto and the world around is still interesting. On a more subtle level I think the sandcastle represents the connection between youth and aged. A sandcastle is transient but the young and old can recognize the "importance" of this limited time; to the young, this is all the time I need now, to the aged, every hour is precious.

BTW I thought it was a boy - long hair not withstanding.

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Nicely put.

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I'm sure the meaning of the last scene was intended as the other commenters here have suggested, but I thought it was poorly thought through and carried out -- not to be too cynical, but in learning that the actress playing the girl building the castle was the director's daughter, it seems that maybe that was the main point for the director. The weird end to Harry's chase of the new "Tonto" on the beach only to have the new Tonto and Harry wander away from each other makes it worse. A little more emotion from Harry at Tonto's death also was in order.

Despite what I sound like here, I really like the movie. I just think it wasn't finished well.

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Under the subject *beep* ending, my comment on page 3 is remarkably similar to ecarle's.

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She was Mazursky's daughter, Jill, either he wanted her in it or she wanted to be in it.

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If you want, you can look at the sandcastle as a metaphor for life:

You spend your life creating / building things. They seem important at the time, but eventually the tide will come in and wash them all away.


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...only to have the tides of life sweep them away. So much of what we do is transient. We often work hard at them not realizing how unimportant they are at the time. It's with the benefit of age and hindsight we can pick out the truly important things to each of us that mattered, that were worth our time to build. And we do tend to stick our tongue out at any who dare to make us question the significance of our efforts. We prefer not be be challenged so, or to face the discomfort that results from really thinking about it.

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In the end Harry dies. Tonto shows up to lead Harry off into the sunset. The little girl is maybe the story you get at all funerals: "when one life passes and new one starts". And maybe the Jewish lady is a streach but all the talk about there is plenty of room in my house and you will have all the food you enjoy is a bit like a classic heaven.

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[deleted]

I like that interpretation!!!!!

Good job!!!!

I'm not into your passport picture, I just like your nose.

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What was crucial at the end, in my opinion, was the sunset. Harry is at the end of his life, just like a setting sun is the end of the day. Then the little girl is there to show the contrast between youth and old age. As others mentioned, this is to be compared with the first movie scene, where we are shown many elderly people.

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Harry and the New Tonto don't connect with each other because you cannot reclaim the past. The sun is setting. The child, however, has her whole life ahead of her. She is the future.

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Thanks. You've summed it up beautifully.

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