Michael Delahoyde, PhD

Professor of English

Harold and Maude

Dr. Michael Delahoyde
Washington State University



Directed: Hal Ashby
Screenplay: Colin Higgins

Harold Chasen: Bud Cort
Maude: Ruth Gordon
Mrs. Chasen: Vivian Pickles
Uncle Victor:
Sunshine Doré: Ellen Geer

Kind of a cult film, Harold and Maude partakes in the late-’60s/early-’70s fad for oddball heroes and heroines and anti-establishmentarianism. It overthrows the conventions even for comedy in making the heroine an old woman, while the young girls tend to be fools. Instead of a traditional score we have folk-pop songs here (by Cat Stevens).

The opening sequence is ritualistic, and we see no full character for a while. Conformist wardrobe and opulent background rich in dark wood perhaps diffuses the violence.

The final sequence uses parallel cutting which usually intersperses simultaneous actions, but here the cross-cutting mixes the present moment with later scenes (or vice versa) with an end in the later time.

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