Harold and Maude (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray]
The Criterion Collection
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With the idiosyncratic American fable Harold and Maude, countercultural director Hal Ashby (Being There) fashioned what would become the cult classic of its era. Working from a script by Colin Higgins (9 to 5), Ashby tells the story of the emotional and romantic bond between a death-obsessed young man (The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou’s Bud Cort) from a wealthy family and a devil-may-care, bohemian octogenarian (Rosemary’s Baby’s Ruth Gordon). Equal parts gallows humor 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, and it features indelible performances and a remarkable soundtrack by Cat Stevens.
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Top customer reviews
This film is as close to perfect as cinema can get, and with an enduring sense of profound joy in life.
I love the scene where Harold is high and tells Maude he's accumulating vices - and she responds "Vice, Virtue. It's best not to be too moral. You cheat yourself out of too much *life.* Aim above morality. If you apply that to life, then you're bound to live life fully."
There is an astonishingly increased amount of detail in this Blu-ray edition (by Criterion) and the soundtrack is crystal clear and dynamic in both the stereo and two channel mono options (especially in regard to Cat Stevens music). I'm looking forward to watching it next time with the commentary, and to enjoying the extras, but it is enough to have the film itself preserved in such carefully restored true high definition - because this is as an eternally relevant classic.
However, that was quickly dispelled after I just watched the movie in its entirety for the very first time.
Getting to the movie subject matter, I was worried after watching the preview online, that this would be a bit of a "downer", but I didn't feel that way after watching the movie. The young male character of Harold is a bit preoccupied with death, but the early scenes of his suicide attempts are soon replaced with his interactions with the quirky older character of Maude.
They teach each other several things about life and death in a heartwarming yet quirky way.
The absolute 2 best features of this film are the music by Yusuf/Cat Stevens, and the extra interview with him, on the extras, which was recorded in 2011. It's only a 5 to 8 minute film, but provides much insight into the artist, and his particular participation in marrying his music with this film. Highly recommended!