Harold & Maude (1971)
Tuesday, July 26th 9pm
Otto’s Shrunken Head
538 E. 14th street (A & B)
This film has meant more to me over the ears than most any other. We are all a little Harold and a little Maude (more than a little from time to time). I love the simplicity and sweetness of the film, and Cat Stevens’ Tea for the Tillerman matches the pace and sentiment perfectly.
I’m pleased to say it has finally found it’s rightful home at Cine Meccanica for the stolen cars, motorcycles, and trucks; Maude’s railroad car home, and Harold’s hearse and chopped Jag XK E. This one’s for Alex, ’cause it’s never gonna be ok, and that’s ok. Enjoy!
Death obsessed teenager, Harold (Bud Cort) spends his time, staging suicides for his mother’s ‘benefit’, attending funerals, and driving his 1959 Cadillac Supreme 3-Way Model Funeral Coach, while being generally morose…until he meets 79 year old, anarchist artist, Maude (Ruth Gordon) at a funeral.
After she steals his hearse, they become quick friends. She frequents funerals as well, but with a heavy past behind her and death hot on her heels, she goes to celebrate the happiness and impermanence of life. She quickly draws him out of his shell stealing cars, liberating trees and singing and dancing in her railroad car home.
Meddling mother (Vivian Pickles) becomes set on marrying Harold off and arranges a series of dates through a computer dating service. While Harold sabotages those with theatrical, gruesome high-jinx, she is completely unaware that her son is falling in love for the first time, with Maude,
When the blind dates and therapy fail, mother takes away his ’59 Hearse and replaces it with a 1971 Jaguar XK E, which Harold promptly chops and welds on the hearse top onto instead…
…and with that, mother settles on a last resort, the military, and sends him off to see Uncle Victor (Charles Tyner) Harold & Maude construct a plot to sabotage the involuntary draft, and successfully convince Uncle that Harold is not fit to serve.
Harold, head over heels in love by now, gives Maude a ring…which she promptly throws In the river so she’ll always know where it is, and tells his mother of his intent to marry. She, Uncle Victor, the therapist and the priest are not pleased.
Filling her rail car with paper sunflowers, and champagne (it’s ok, it’s organic) for her 80th birthday, he tells her that he has one final surprise (the proposal)…to which she replies that she has a surprise as well…She has taken the tablets an hour ago and will be gone by midnight. He rushes her to the hospital, but it’s too late.
The scenes switches back and forth between a distraught Harold in the ER, and the jag’hearse tearing down the highway towards the ocean, and then straight off a cliff, where it is smashed to bits on the rocks below. After a long pause, Cat Stevens’ ‘Trouble’ merges into If you want to sing out, sing out. The camera pulls back, and a happy Harold, not dead in a firey suicide as expected, instead dances slowly away, playing his banjo. A gift from Maude.
A lot of people enjoy being dead. But they are not dead, really.
They’re just backing away from life. Reach out. Take a chance.
Get hurt even.But play as well as you can. Go team, go!
Give me an L. Give me an I. Give me a V. Give me an E. L-I-V-E. LIVE!
Otherwise, you got nothing to talk about in the locker room.