Review: ‘Harold and Maude’

Harold and Maude has all the fun and gaiety of a burning orphanage. Ruth Gordon heads the cast as an offensive eccentric who becomes a beacon in the life of a self-destructive rich boy, played by Bud Cort. Together they attend funerals and indulge in specious philosophizing.

Harold and Maude has all the fun and gaiety of a burning orphanage. Ruth Gordon heads the cast as an offensive eccentric who becomes a beacon in the life of a self-destructive rich boy, played by Bud Cort. Together they attend funerals and indulge in specious philosophizing.

Director Hal Ashby’s second feature is marked by a few good gags, but marred by a greater preponderance of sophomoric, overdone and mocking humor.

Cort does well as the spoiled neurotic whose repeated suicide attempts barely ruffle the feathers of mother Vivian Pickles, whose urbane performance is outstanding. She solicits a computer dating service to provide three potential brides: Shari Summers and Judy Engles are frightened off by Cort’s bizarre doings, but Ellen Geer is delightful as one who goes him one better.

One thing that can be said about Ashby – he begins the film in a gross and macabre manner, and never once deviates from the concept. That’s style for you.

Harold and Maude

Production

Paramount. Dir Hal Ashby; Producer Colin Higgins, Charles B. Mulvehill; Screenplay Colin Higgins; Camera John A. Alonzo; Editor William A. Sawyer, Edward Warschilka; Music Cat Stevens Art Dir Michael Haller

Crew

(Color) Available on VHS, DVD. Extract of a review from 1971. Running time: 90 MIN.

With

Ruth Gordon Bud Cort Vivian Pickles Cyril Cusack Charles Tyner Ellen Geer

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