A consistently intelligent (or at least bright), coherently constructed comedy that is on occasion a rather pointed critique of the American education system in the…
Harry Stoner is a man who, according to his own lights, is a good citizen. He employs something like 40 people, he contributes to the economy, he cares about his family, he pays his . . . well, last year he didn't quite pay his taxes. He and his partner did a little ballet with the books, and if the IRS finds out, that will be the last tango in Los Angeles.
"Save the Tiger" is the story of a day and a half in Harry Stoner's life. It begins when he's awakened by a nightmare, and it ends with some kids who don't need him as a utility infielder in their baseball game. Harry is a partner in a dress-manufacturing firm, and this is his big day because it's the day when he introduces his new line to the out-of-town buyers. A lot of things happen to Harry during the day. A client nearly dies of a heart attack on him, he has a couple of philosophical discussions (one with an old European tailor, one with the last of the flower children) and he arranges to have one of his factories burn down.
But all the time, his mind is on other things. He is haunted by his memory of how simple life was in the 1940s. The flower child tells him that she read in the National Geographic about how tigers and other wild animals "return to places of remembered beauty" to die. Harry's place of remembered beauty is a professional baseball lineup, the Brooklyn team in the 1940s, the boys of summer . . . Harry was a pretty good amateur ball player himself at one time. Now he cheats, pimps, steals designs from his competitors and finds himself dealing with an arsonist. He can't quite understand what went wrong. His dream was to meet a payroll, instead of being on one. Now as the ads say, he will do anything for one more season. It's just that one more season means something different to Willie Mays than it does to Harry Stoner.
"Save the Tiger" has been attacked in some quarters for covering too much ground. I suppose it does. There's hardly a contemporary issue that isn't at least mentioned, sometimes two or three times. Maybe the movie's writer, Steve Shagan, tried too hard to find a place in his script for everything on his mind. "Save the Tiger" isn't just a statement; it's a summary of Shagan's intellectual inventory over the last five years.