Kirsten Johnson Carte Blanche: Harold and Maude
Director: Hal Ashby
USA / 1971 / 92 min
Introduced by Johnson
A teenager with a death wish and a 79-year-old high on life find love in Hal Ashby’s cult black comedy. Deadpan rich-boy Harold (Bud Cort) keeps staging elaborate suicide tableaux to get the attention of his mother (Vivian Pickles), but she keeps planning his brilliant future for him instead. Obsessed with the trappings of death, Harold freaks out his blind dates, modifies his new sports car to look like a mini-hearse, and attends funerals, where he meets the spirited Maude (Ruth Gordon). An eccentric to the core, Maude lives exactly as she pleases, with avid collecting and nude modeling among her many pursuits. To the disgust of Harold’s relatives and the befuddlement of Harold’s shrink, Harold falls in love with her. As lilting Cat Stevens tunes play on the soundtrack, Maude teaches Harold a valuable lesson about making the most of his time on earth.