Archive of films Harold and Maude / Harold and Maude
1971, 92 min
Section: New Hollywood
Harold is 20 years old, rich, obsessed with death, and controlled by his mother. Maude is 79 and obsessed with crazy ideas. Together they form a peculiar romantic couple rebelling against the sundry and inane superstitions associated with youth, age, death, and sex. Hal Ashby’s black comedy is a provocative and entirely unsentimental love story that has lost none of its subversive nature, even today.
Harold is 20 years old, rich, obsessed with death, and reigned over by a dominant mother whom he tries in vain to prompt towards some show of emotion through his attempts at suicide. He has no interest in girls his age. Free-spirited Maude is 79, obsessed with crazy ideas, and is glad to be in the world because she knows that nothing and no one lasts forever. They both share a passion for visiting funerals for the therapeutic value it has for them – although for completely different reasons. And it is at one such funeral that they first meet and forge a peculiar romantic relationship over the coffins of strangers, united in their desire to rebel against the sundry and inane superstitions associated with youth, age, death, and sex. Hal Ashby’s black comedy is a provocative and entirely unsentimental love story that not only outraged conservative moviegoers at the beginning of the 1970s but rebellious youth as well. The film took on radical positions with original humour and an original concept of the world, defying all norms and ideologies.
The print kindly provided by Paramount Pictures is newly graded from the original negative.
About the director
Hal Ashby (b. 1929, Ogden – 1988, Malibu) first won recognition as an editor. He was twice nominated for an Oscar for his work – for Norman Jewison’s films The Russians Are Coming! The Russians Are Coming! (1966) and In the Heat of the Night (1968). Thanks to Jewison, he debuted with the social comedy The Landlord in 1970. He also directed the black comedy Harold and Maude (1971), the psychological drama The Last Detail (1973), the comedy Shampoo (1975), a biography of Woody Guthrie Bound for Glory (1976), the satirical Being There (1979), and also the comedies Lookin’ to Get Out (1982) and The Slugger’s Wife (1985). His direction of Coming Home (1978), about the homecoming of a Vietnam War veteran, brought him his third Oscar nomination.
About the film
Color, 35 mm
|Dir. of Photography:||John Alonzo|
|Editor:||William Sawyer, Edward Warschilka|
|Producer:||Charles Mulvehill, Colin Higgins|
|Cast:||Ruth Gordon, Bud Cort, Vivian Pickles, Cyril Cusack, Charles Tyner, Ellen Geer|