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Harold and Maude (1971)

 





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Movie Title/Year and Scene Descriptions
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Harold and Maude (1971)

In Hal Ashby's cult classic black comedy/romance, with a memorable Cat Stevens' musical score (especially "If You Want to Sing Out, Sing Out") :

  • the dark humor of many elaborately-faked or staged suicides (hanging by a noose, cut wrists and throat, immolation, shooting, stabbing, drowning, etc.) by wealthy, 20 year old introvert Harold (Bud Cort) to shock and seek attention from his domineering mother Mrs. Chasen (Vivian Pickles)
Harold's Many Faked and Staged Suicides
  • Harold's unlikely love affair with 79 year old funeral-loving, free-spirited Maude (Ruth Gordon) - a concentration-camp survivor that he first met at a stranger's funeral service -- Harold drove a hearse
  • the funny scene in which Harold's over-bearing, match-making mother filled out his computer dating service questionnaire for him: ("Here is the first question. 'Are you uncomfortable meeting new people?' Well, I think that's a yes, don't you agree, Harold? 'Should sex education be taught outside the home?' Oh, I would say no, wouldn't you, Harold? Yeah, we'll give a D there. Three: 'Should women run for president of the United States?' I don't see why not. Absolutely yes. 'Do you remember jokes and take pleasure in relating them to others?' Well, you don't do that, do you, Harold? No. Absolutely not. 'Do you often get the feeling that perhaps life isn't worth living?' Hmm, what is it, Harold? A? B? Oh, we'll put C - not sure. 'Is the subject of sex being overexploited by our mass media?' Well, that would have to be yes, wouldn't it? 'Is it difficult for you to accept criticism?' No. We'll mark D. 'Do you sometimes have headaches or backaches after a difficult day?' Yes, I do indeed. 'Do you go to sleep easily?' I'd say so. 'Do you believe in capital punishment for murder?' Oh, yes, I do indeed. 'In your opinion, are social affairs usually a waste of time?' Heavens, no! 'Can God influence our lives?' Oh, yes, absolutely yes. 'Does your personal religion or philosophy include a life after death?' (Harold pointed his gun at his mother) Oh, yes, indeed. That's absolutely. 'Did you enjoy life when you were a child?' Oh, yes, you were a wonderful baby, Harold. 'Do you think the sexual revolution has gone too far?' It certainly has. 'Do you find the idea of wife-swapping distasteful?' I even find the question distasteful. 'Do you...' (gunshot) Harold, please! 'Do you have ups and downs without obvious reason?' Oh, that's you, Harold!"), while he prepared to commit fake suicide with a gun
The Computer Dating Questionnaire
  • the seagull, daisy field, and white gravestone-cemetery scenes
  • the scenes of his mother's continual efforts to set up Harold on blind dates after "bride interviews"
  • the scenes of Maude stealing a car and evading a motorcycle cop
  • Harold's talk with hawkish, crazed, one-armed Uncle Victor (Charles Tyner), "General MacArthur's right-hand man," who recommended that he sign up for Army boot camp immediately, to "take on a man's job": "Now, that's what this country needs - more Nathan Hales. (He saluted a picture of Nathan Hale) And, Harold, I think I can see a little Nathan Hale in you."
  • the incredible scene when Harold performed harakiri in front of his drama student date Sunshine Doré (Ellen Geer) who also unwittingly acted out the tragic scene from Romeo and Juliet with her dagger finding its sheath in her chest
  • the hilarious scene of Harold's priest (Eric Christmas) impassioned warning him about having sex with an elderly person: "I would be remiss in my duty if I did not tell you that the idea of intercourse: and the fact of your firm, young body co-mingling with the withered flesh, sagging breasts and flabby buttocks, makes me want to vomit"
  • the scene of Maude's 80th birthday, when she happily revealed to Harold that she had taken a deadly overdose of pills
  • Maude's dying advice to Harold: "Go and love some more" - the film's last line
  • Harold's reaction to Maude's death at the hospital -- driving his hearse off a cliff (but surviving atop the cliff playing a banjo)

Maude (Ruth Gordon)

Harold With Maude


Harold's Priest - A Warning



Harold's Pep Talk with One-Armed Uncle Victor (Charles Tyner)

Harold's Date Stabbing Herself


Harold and Maude in Bed Together

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