HAROLD AND MAUDE (1971)

PrintE-mail Written by Stuart Mulrain

Harold and Maude Review

REVIEW: HAROLD AND MAUDE / CERT: 15 / DIRECTOR: HAL ASHBY / SCREENPLAY: COLIN HIGGINS / STARRING: BUD CORT, RUTH GORDON, VIVIAN PICKLES / RELEASE DATE: JULY 14TH

Okay, I’m going to pitch you a coming of age love story about a young man obsessed with death, who falls in love with a 79-year-old free spirit that he meets at a funeral. Imagine that pitch being kicked around Hollywood these days. We’d probably be faced with a brooding, Robert Pattinson-esque Harold being paired up with a more comfortably aged Jennifer Aniston-esque cougar Maude.

Thank Zeus’ beard then that Harold and Maude was made in 1971 at the height of the new wave of experimental, independent American cinema.

There are two things that strike you most about watching Harold and Maude. The first is the brilliance of the comedy, which balances both subtlety and in your face gags with the perfect blend of script, direction and performance. There is a moment of comedy perfection when, after one of the film's many mock suicides, Hal Ashby holds the camera on Bud Cort’s face. The punchline is delivered without a word of dialogue, simply by the look on Cort’s face.

The second, and possibly more striking thing about the film is how beautifully the love story plays out. The chemistry between Cort and Ruth Gordon has an ease and natural feel that makes them one of the iconic screen couples. The scenes they have together have a spark and humour that is so genuinely touching that you almost forget the age difference between them.

Harold and Maude is one of those cult classic films from an experimental age that most people have probably never even heard of, and that works in its favour. To tell you too much about the film before you’ve seen it would take away a lot of the delights to be discovered within it. Instead I will sell it to you the same way a friend sold it to me when he lent me his copy many years ago: “Just watch it. You’ll love it.”

The Blu-ray contains a really nice picture transfer of the film and offers two audio options (mono and stereo). The bonus features are fine, being made up of an interview/discussion with critic David Cairns and an audio commentary by Ashby biographer Nick Dawson and producer Charles B. Mulvehill. There are a couple of nice factoids in both, but they are quite dry and flat at times.

Extras: See above



Suggested Articles:
Arriving more like an assault on the senses than a traditional film release, Realm Of The Damned is
Peter Brook’s adaptation of the classic William Golding novel, comes to blu-ray courtesy of Criter
After the sequel to Return of the Living Dead made an unsuccessful grab at the teen market, Brian Yu
C.H.U.D 2: Bud the Chud (a title that just rolls off the tongue) is firmly a product of the ‘80s i
scroll back to top

Add comment

Security code
Refresh

Other articles in DVD / Blu-ray Reviews

REALM OF THE DAMNED 22 August 2017

LORD OF THE FLIES 16 August 2017

RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD 3 16 August 2017

C.H.U.D 2: BUD THE CHUD 16 August 2017

THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE 2 16 August 2017

THE SLAYER 16 August 2017

INCONCEIVABLE 16 August 2017

VOICE FROM THE STONE 16 August 2017

CRIMSON 16 August 2017

PROJECT EDEN VOL. 1 14 August 2017

- Entire Category -

Sign up today!
Banner
Banner
Banner
Banner
Banner
Banner
Banner
Banner