“In 1971, the film was released early, taking the release date held for The Godfather which was running behind, and did not attract audiences initially. In the intervening years, the film has become widely loved and respected, a favourite of anyone knows how important it is to be a misfit from time to time.” Andrea Kalas, SVP Archives, Paramount
Hal Ashby fashioned what would become the cult classic of its era with this idiosyncratic coming of age black comedy about the freedom to be yourself. Working from a script by Colin Higgins, Ashby tells the story of the emotional and romantic bond between a death obsessed young man (Bud Cort) from a wealthy family and a devil-may-care, bohemian octogenarian (Ruth Gordon).
Equal parts gallows humour and romantic innocence, Harold and Maude dissolves the line between darkness and light along with the ones that separate people by class, gender, and age. As Maude shows Harold how to truly live, Harold falls in love with her as Maude shows him only not how to live well, but die well.
This film starts by drawing you in for the storyline, but it keeps you there for its beating heart. It’s a film unapologetically of its time – the wardrobe, cinematography and a classic Cat Stevens soundtrack place it firmly in the 70s – but now over fifty years later, its dark humour and undercurrent of optimism resonate more than ever.
Restored in 4K by Paramount Archives, 2021. Presented by Park Circus.