Harold and Maude turned 50 this year.
In the Hall Ashby directed cult-classic, Harold Chasen (Bud Cort) spends his leisure time devising attention-seeking suicide scenarios within view of his distant mother (Vivian Pickles). After multiple staged suicides, Mrs Chasen sends him to a psychiatrist. He asks Harold if all 15 attempts were done for his mother’s benefit, Harold says straight-faced,
“I would not say benefit.”
Young Harold likes to go to funerals. One day at a stranger’s last gathering he meets Maude (Ruth Gordon), a fellow funeral aficionado, nude life model and self-described sunflower.
Later in the film, Maude asks Harold,
“What flower would you like to be?”
“One of these [daisies] maybe. Because they’re all alike.”
“But they’re not.
I feel that much of the world’s sorrow come from people who are this [holds a single daisy]…
yet allow themselves to be treated as that.”
I won’t spoil it, but it’s a love story. Maude is almost done and Harold is at the beginning. It’s a truly wonderful film, on many levels but it bombed when it came out in ’71. Over the decades since, its fan base has grown so that many now list it in their all-time top 10. I do.
The wardrobe, cinematography and the brilliant Cat Stevens (Yusuf) soundtrack make it ultra-counter-culture 70s, but it resonates in 2021 maybe more than ever.
(via The Guardian)