Ruth Gordon and Bud Cort star in classic oddball love story.
HAROLD AND MAUDE (Criterion, 1971) D: Hal Ashby, w/ Bud Cort, Ruth Gordon. Rating: NNNNN; DVD package: NNNN Rating: NNNNN
At heart, Harold And Maude is one of the sweetest, most poignant love stories ever put on film. Harold (Bud Cort) is 20 and death-obsessed. Maude (Ruth Gordon) is a few days shy of 80, a lover of life and a casual car thief. Opposites attract.
Cort's awkward passivity and Gordon's sprightly grace mesh effortlessly. It's clear that these people belong together.
Their love is embedded in some wicked black comedy centred on Harold's suicide attempts and several satiric jabs at psychiatry, the Church and the military. None of it is subtle: Maude pontificates, and the Cat Stevens soundtrack hammers the message home. But neither element comes close to spoiling the charm.
The extras detail the production history and explore director Hal Ashby's creative approach. Gordon's print interview is funny, frank and nothing at all like the pap that actors on set currently serve up.
EXTRAS Scholar and producer commentary, Ashby audio segments, writer-producer Colin Higgins audio seminar segments, Stevens interview, Gordon print interview, more. English audio and subtitles.