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Harold Chasen is nineteen years old. Wealthy in that old-money sort of way. Obsessed with death in that constantly-staging-his-own-suicide sort of way.
He drives a hearse, watches demolitions and attends the funerals of strangers. At several he notices an older woman (she’s turning 80 within the week)–who also notices him. She’s positively full of life.
Though she does have a bothersome habit of stealing cars…or police motorcycles.
She also poses nude for sculptures and frees trees being choked by smog. Oh, Maude is just what Harold needs.
Harold’s mother, however, thinks Harold needs to get married or join the army. She sets him up on dates arranged by a computer dating agency and then sends him to see his uncle, the brigadier general. These experiences go rather hilariously sideways.
The entire film is hilariously sideways.
I admit my prejudice in that Harold and Maude is one of my top five favourite films. I watch it probably once a year and it never ceases to crack me up.
When the film was originally released in 1971 it was a flop, but eventually became a cult-hit being played on university campuses. It’s wonderfully dark and bizarre. The line-readings are classic, the set designs lush. Every character is perfectly cast.
It’s the sort of film you’ll either ‘get’ and love straightaway or stare at, nonplussed.
I pulled this one out to review when they re-released the novelization of the screenplay, which I’ll be reviewing tomorrow.