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Harold and Maude


colinasamarillas

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I saw this movie today and its' the first time I have seen it. However it feels so familiar especially the title.

 

I was wondering if you have seen this film: What do you conceive of to be the theme? Do you remember when Maude is leading the funeral from the graveyard? It seems like she is leading a parade? She stood out by not wearing black, and for all the trouble in the world seems to forget why she's was there with her movements. What are some statements you could make about this movie?

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  • 3 months later...

I find it overrated; many people do not.

 

The theme? Savor every moment of life, I suppose.

 

The Cat Stevens music hammers home the theme (also some 70's anti-war subtext) with the droning lyrics: "If you wanna be free, be free...."

 

Eh.

 

I prefer Ruth Gordon in Rosemary's Baby, where she's effectively banally sinister.

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I rediscovered Harold and Maude after umpteen years, and now that I'm closer in age to Maude than to Harold, I like it much better, although I sort of liked it the first time I saw it as well.

 

I think at least one of the thematic threads is that one must not Romanticize (with a capital "R") death without first embracing life. Harold is something of a satire on the "Werther" character ("The Sorrows of Young Werther" was a tremendously successful and influential novel by the 18th Century German author Goethe, which popularized the Romantic movement in literature, art and music in the late 1700s and early 1800s).

 

Harold is going through some typical teenage angst (he's actually a precursor of the Goth attitude, only it wasn't called that then). He thinks he is suffering, and sees death as the appropriate, attention getting solution. That's why he likes going to funerals -- he'd like to be the center of all that attention. He's kind of an Addams Family offshoot, what with all his bizarre and very funny suicide attempts. Of course, aside from having an overbearing mother, he's not really suffering for anything at all, and could probably get his mother to back off if he just asserted himself.

 

Maude, on the other hand, had many tribulations and setbacks in her long life, but has learned to remain positive, and to enjoy whatever she is doing, even attending funerals. She takes nothing, and everything, seriously at the same time, and she knows that it's life that is the true romance, not death. However, she takes her death seriously, knowing that it's coming soon, and embracing it as just another aspect of life. These things are what she teaches Harold, and he accepts her teachings, ending the film by, in effect, taking up where Maude left off.

 

This is an unusual and very affecting movie, which has more meaning than may at first be apparent. I think it would have been better with a more sensitive director, and I've never been a Cat Stevens fan, so the music bothers me even more now than it did the first time.

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Good question, sister NYC-er.

 

In terms of the time period, maybe Stanley Donen, Sidney Pollack, George Roy Hill. Someone who directed with a sure comic touch, and could handle "sensitive" movies - I think the personal relation between Maude and Harold was evident more through the skills of the actors than through the script or the direction.

 

Anyone else have any suggestions?

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Although I have never liked this film, that was a very well written piece. You've actually got me interested in maybe watching when it comes on (or at least pulling out my "Tea for the Tillerman" album!).

 

I look forward to reading more of your stuff.

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Arkadin, thank you very much.

 

Bronxgirl, that's just what I mean about directors. The plight of the girls in "Henry Orient" (one of the few movies of the past to deal realistically with the behavior of young girls) was very sensitively handled by George Roy Hill, and rang true.

 

PS - It feels like Spring has finally sprung in Brooklyn. I saw two robins this morning while I was walking with my dog.

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I think at least one of the thematic threads is that one must not Romanticize (with a capital "R") death without first embracing life. Harold is something of a satire on the "Werther" character ("The Sorrows of Young Werther" was a tremendously successful and influential novel by the 18th Century German author Goethe, which popularized the Romantic movement in literature, art and music in the late 1700s and early 1800s).

This is a very good and thought-provoking post... I really enjoyed reading this thanks for sharing! :)

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  • 8 months later...

This always gets my vote for best-use-of-pop-music-film-score nomination.

 

But I remember the film's ending to be displayed quite differently than the DVD (and earlier, the VHS) ending. I remember there were 'transition' scenes where all 3 views of the closing scenes were running side-by-side - each consuming a third of the screen, and then one of those would expand to consume the full-screen, then we'd be returned back to the 3-side-by-side shots and another 'scene' would take over.

 

Oh well... the joys of pan & puke re-editing and chopping films into some newly-paid re-editor. Why oh why did they EVER go to that expense...

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  • 2 months later...

This may be overstating it but this is the best movie in the history of the universe.HA

Harold caught a short glimpse of how much his mother cared for him when she

put her hand to her head and collapsed in the cops arms (Harold retelling the story

to Maude while smoking a bong). That's why he's obcessed with death; he wants

that loving attention from his mother again. Maude was "green" long before it became

the thing to do. A good line from the movie among others (when they're walking through

the field of daisies and Harold says he's like the daisy-all the same) when Maude

says the trouble with people (holding an individual daisy) is that they are this

(unique individuals) but are willing to be treated like this (pointing to the whole

field of flowers) with no difference between them-cattle. (Paraphasing)

"Miles from nowhere, guess I'll take my time, oh yeah, to reach the end" Cat Stevens.

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