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Harold and Maude
This article will be permanently flagged as inappropriate and made unaccessible to everyone. Are you certain this article is inappropriate? Email Address:. It incorporates elements of dark humor and existentialist drama, with a plot that revolves around the exploits of a young man named Harold played by Bud Cort intrigued with death. Harold drifts away from the life that his detached mother Vivian Pickles prescribes for him, and slowly develops quite a strong and close friendship and eventually a romantic relationship with a year-old woman named Maude Ruth Gordon who teaches Harold about living life to its fullest and that life is the most precious gift of all.
The film was based on a screenplay written by Colin Higgins and published as a novel in Critically and commercially unsuccessful when originally released, the film developed a cult following  and in began making a profit. Harold Chasen Bud Cort is a young man obsessed with death. He regularly stages elaborate fake suicides, attends funerals, and drives a hearse , all to the chagrin of his socialite mother Vivian Pickles.
At another stranger's funeral service, Harold meets Maude Ruth Gordon , a year-old woman who shares Harold's hobby of attending funerals. He is entranced by her quirky outlook on life, which is bright and excessively carefree in contrast with his own morbidity. The pair form a bond, and Maude slowly shows Harold the pleasures of art and music including how to play banjo , and teaches him how to "[make] the most of his time on earth". One by one, Harold frightens and horrifies each of his appointed dates by appearing to commit gruesome acts such as self-immolation , self-mutilation , and seppuku.
As they become even closer their friendship soon blossoms into genuine and strong romance , and Harold announces that he will marry Maude, resulting in disgusted outbursts from his family, psychiatrist, and priest. Maude's 80th birthday arrives, and Harold throws a surprise party for her.
As the couple dances, Maude tells Harold that she "couldn't imagine a lovelier farewell". Confused, he questions Maude as to her meaning, and she reveals that she has purposely taken an overdose of sleeping pills and will be dead by midnight. She restates her firm belief that eighty is the proper age to die.
Harold rushes Maude to the hospital, where she is treated unsuccessfully and dies. In the final sequence, Harold's car is seen going off a seaside cliff, but after the crash, the final shot reveals Harold standing calmly atop the cliff, holding his banjo.
While working as producer Edward Lewis' pool boy, Higgins showed the script to Lewis's wife, Mildred. Mildred was so impressed that she got Edward to give it to Stanley Jaffe at Paramount. Higgins sold the script with the understanding that he would direct the film, but he was told he wasn't ready after tests he shot proved unsatisfactory to the studio heads. Ashby would only commit to directing the film after getting Higgins' blessing and then, so Higgins could watch and learn from him on the set, Ashby made Higgins a co-producer.
It then became a 20 minute thesis while at film school. After the film came out, the script was subsequently turned into a novel then a play, which ran for several years in Paris. Also on his list were John Rubinstein , for whom Higgins had written the part, and then up-and-coming British pop star Elton John , whom Ashby had seen live and hoped would also do the music.
Anne Brebner, the film's casting director, was almost cast as Harold's mother when Vivian Pickles was briefly unable to do the role.
Maude's past is revealed in a glimpse of the Auschwitz ID number tattooed on her arm as well as her talk with Harold about using an umbrella to defend herself from thugs at political meetings before moving to America.
Harold is part of a society in which he is of no importance; existentially, he is without meaning. Maude has survived and lives a life rich with meaning and deliberate choice.
It is in this existential crisis, shown against the backdrop of the Vietnam War , that we see the differences between one culture, personified by Harold, handling a meaningless war, while another has experienced and lived beyond a war that produced a crisis of meaning.
Harold tells Maude when they are talking candidly at her house that he has "died a few times". He describes how, when he was at boarding school, he set his chemistry lab on fire and, escaping through a hole in the floor, went home, believing his school career to be at an end. When the police came to his house, Harold watched as they told his mother that he had died in the fire, and saw her collapse into the policemen's arms.
As he reaches this part of the story, Harold bursts into tears and declares, "I decided then I enjoyed being dead. Throughout the movie, Harold appears to "die" a total of seven to eight times. He tells his psychologist at one early juncture that he has made similar attempts in all fifteen times now, which he calls a rough estimate.
The list was released in In June , AFI revealed its "Ten Top Ten"—the best ten films in ten "classic" American film genres—after polling over 1, people from the creative community. Harold and Maude was acknowledged as the ninth best film in the romantic comedy genre. Harold and Maude received mixed reviews at the time of its release, with several critics being offended by the film's dark humor. Critic Roger Ebert , in a review dated January 1, , did not care for the film. He wrote, "And so what we get, finally, is a movie of attitudes.
Harold is death, Maude life, and they manage to make the two seem so similar that life's hardly worth the extra bother. The visual style makes everyone look fresh from the Wax Museum, and all the movie lacks is a lot of day-old gardenias and lilies and roses in the lobby, filling the place with a cloying sweet smell. Nothing more to report today.
Harold doesn't even make pallbearer. The film did garner praise over time. A consensus on the site read, "Hal Ashby's comedy is too dark and twisted for some, and occasionally oversteps its bounds, but there's no denying the film's warm humor and big heart.
This poll has been going since , and has become the most recognised poll of its kind in the world. Frisch commented: "An encouragement to think beyond the obvious!
The music in Harold and Maude was composed and performed by Cat Stevens. He had been suggested by Elton John to do the music after John had dropped out of the project. Those albums had been released before the film was released. There is some additional non-Cat Stevens music in the film. During the scene where Harold is floating face-down in the swimming pool, the opening bars of Tchaikovsky 's Piano Concerto No.
A marching band is also heard playing a John Philip Sousa march outside the church following a funeral. It omitted the two original songs and all instrumental and alternate versions of songs, and was generally composed of re-released material that was in the film along with five songs that are not in the film. The second soundtrack was released in December ,  by Vinyl Films Records, as a vinyl-only limited edition release of 2, copies.
It contained a page oral history of the making of the film, the most extensive series of interviews yet conducted on Harold and Maude. Colin Higgins later adapted the story into a stage play. Higgins expressed interest in about both a sequel and prequel to Harold and Maude. Higgins also imagined a prequel showing Maude's life before Harold, Grover and Maude had Maude learning how to steal cars from Grover Muldoon, the character portrayed by Richard Pryor in Higgins' film Silver Streak.
Higgins wanted both Gordon and Pryor to reprise their roles. My Dashboard Get Published. Sign in with your eLibrary Card close. We appreciate your support of online literacy with your eLibrary Card Membership. Your membership has expired. Flag as Inappropriate. Email this Article.
Harold and Maude. Harold and Maude release poster. Y] 08 Aug C Library of Congress. Retrieved Being Hal Ashby : life of a Hollywood rebel. Aspect Ratio - April American Film Institute. Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved February 28, Pacific Stars and Stripes. Films directed by Hal Ashby. Funding for USA. Congress, E-Government Act of Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
Cat Stevens. John Alonzo. Paramount Pictures. Vinyl Films.
Editor Roundtable: Harold and Maude
Harold and Maude is a American coming-of-age dark comedy — drama film directed by Hal Ashby and released by Paramount Pictures. It incorporates elements of dark humor and existentialist drama. The plot revolves around the exploits of a young man in his early 20s named Harold Chasen Bud Cort who is intrigued with death. Harold drifts away from the life that his detached mother Vivian Pickles proscribes for him, and slowly develops a strong friendship, and eventually a romantic relationship, with a year-old woman named Maude Ruth Gordon , a Nazi concentration camp survivor who teaches Harold about the importance of living life to its fullest and that life is the most precious gift of all. The film was based on a screenplay written by Colin Higgins and published as a novel in Critically and commercially unsuccessful when originally released, the film developed a cult following and in began making a profit.
Download the Math of Storytelling Infographic. This week Jarie pitched Harold and Maude as a great example of an innovative love story. This cult favorite film was directed by Hal Ashby from a screenplay by Colin Higgins. Controlling idea: We need to be our true selves no matter how odd that might be or risk living a life that does not complete us. Jarie — Out of all the genres we deal with, the Love Story is the most popular. There is something that grabs at us when we see a well done love story.
Editor Roundtable: Harold and Maude
This article will be permanently flagged as inappropriate and made unaccessible to everyone. Are you certain this article is inappropriate? Email Address:. It incorporates elements of dark humor and existentialist drama, with a plot that revolves around the exploits of a young man named Harold played by Bud Cort intrigued with death.
A young man enters but we. We HEAR a record drop and begin playing. The feet pause there for a moment.