Harold and Maude
As a first time viewer of Harold and Maude the first scene struck me for several Harold finds ways around all of his authority figures: his mother, Uncle .. Throughout the movie we see the relationship and bond between the two While it is often difficult for a father to connect with their children their desire. Harold's rich and superficial mother who seems completely unaware of Harold's true by it (In this case, Harold became easily sick as a child). I can't stand. A friend gave him the Harold and Maude screenplay and, after reading it, he related to the macabre kid in search of a connection. During a scene in which his screen mother, played by Vivian Pickles, tells him he's going to.
One of his favorite pastimes is elaborately staging mock suicides for his mother's benefit. Does this sound like someone you want dating your sister? The film Harold and Maude is best known as a love story between a man 20 years old and a woman going on I've heard and read people describe the film as all about that relationship and people's intolerance to it.
However, that is not the movie I saw when I first watched it a decade ago, and that is not what I see now. Sure, the age-disparate romance is a key element here, but the subject of people's intolerance to such a relationship is barely touched on, and then only as subtext in one of the movie's larger themes.
The movie starts out with a series of deliciously dark hilarity.
The comedy is greatly enhanced by by the casting of Bud Cort as Harold; his cherubic boyish face and gangly, fragile-looking frame lend irony to his morbid fascination. In one of the two main story threads, Harold's wealthy, overbearing mother, played to snobbish perfection by British actress Vivian Pickles, makes numerous attempts to get Harold to lighten up and be more 'normal.
She gets him into psychotherapy with a hopelessly out-of-touch therapist G. She signs him up for a computer dating service. She eventually tries to force him to join the Army. To my mind, this is the true conflict of Harold's character, and really the movie; he has never learned to live his own life, thanks to his domineering mother.
We come to learn the details of how he obtained his morbid fascination, and the dysfunction between mother and son become even more clear. It was this unique look, coupled with some real acting chops, that made him the perfect candidate for cult youth antihero. For about seven years, he lived on and off in the mansion of his idol Groucho Marx, no doubt a better life than the mansion he shares with his mother in Maude.
Then, his career was tragically stunted inwhen in a freaky reference to the end of Harold and Maude, a car accident almost killed him on the Hollywood Freeway. Much of his life afterward was spent on physical therapy, plastic surgery and seeing his money disappear to hospital bills and a lost court case related to the accident. Still, he continued acting, and you may have seen him recently and not even known it: B As for year-old co-star Gordon, she had a much more fruitful career.
She wrote her last screenplay inand then found new life as an actress in the sixties, something she had not done since Her character is so captivating to watch. Part of this has to do with the way screenwriter Colin Higgins crafts her character in this totally original script, voted 86 all time by the Writers Guilds.
Harold and Maude review at Charing Cross Theatre, London
She says the earth is her body and her head is in the stars. That seems about right. Higgins surrounds Maude with objects that speak volumes as to who she is. But make no mistake about it; Harold is just as complex, if not more so. Together, they are two of the most complex individuals ever put on screen, both attracted to funerals for different reasons.
Harold clings to all things death because of an intense fear of life, of facing the real world, of growing up similar to Benjamin in The Graduate. Conversely, Maude is attracted to the funerals for the exact opposite reason. She has seen plenty of death and is no longer afraid of it. Rather, she views it as an inevitable part of life, and has found peace with the fact that she herself is going to die.
C Accessibility By the time this ending hits, many mainstream viewers will be dumbfounded at what they have just seen. Harold and Maude makes its living on defying conventions, and if you are a viewer who has become accustomed to those conventions, you will feel lost.Harold and Maude (2/8) Movie CLIP - Dating Questionnaire (1971) HD
Near the end of the film, Harold gives Maude a ring, and rather than put it on, she takes it and throws it into a lake. This unconventionality can rub viewers one of two ways — refreshingly brilliant or head-scratchingly pointless. After winning an Oscar as editor on In the Heat of the Nighthe began a directing career that quickly led to Oscar contenders like Coming Home and Being There Harold and Maude was just his second film as director, following The Landlordand already we see his talent as a visual communicator.
In just a few minutes, Ashby has set the tone of the film, taken us for a ride, surprised us several times and divulged important character information, most of which is done in long take. Maude's 80th birthday arrives, and Harold throws a surprise party for her. As the couple dance, Maude tells Harold that she "couldn't imagine a lovelier farewell.
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.
Maude believes in living each day to its fullest, and "trying something new every day". Her view of life is so joyful that, true to the film's motif, it crosses a blurred, shifting line into a carefree attitude toward death as well. We know little of her past, but learn that as a young woman she lived in pre-war Vienna, was once married and has a Nazi concentration camp tattoo on one arm.
Bud Cort as Harold Parker Chasen, an year-old man who is obsessed with death. He drives a hearse, attends funerals of strangers and stages elaborate fake suicides. Through meeting and falling in love with Maude, he discovers joy in living for the first time. Vivian Pickles as Mrs. Chasen, Harold's opulently wealthy mother, is controlling, snooty and seemingly incapable of affection. Hoping to force him into respectability, Mrs. Chasen replaces Harold's beloved hearse with a Jaguar which he then converts to a miniature hearse and sets up several blind dates, or more accurately, "bride interviews" with young women.
Cyril Cusack as Glaucus, the sculptor who makes an ice statue of Maude and lends them his tools to transport a tree. Charles Tyner as General Victor Ball, Harold's uncle who lost an arm in the war and now pulls a hidden cord to make his wire prosthetic "salute". Chasen's request, he attempts to prepare Harold to join the armed forces.
The effort is thwarted by a planned stunt in which Harold appears to kill Maude.