HAROLD AND MAUDE (Hal Ashby, 1971)
Museum of the Moving Image
35th Ave. at 36th St., Astoria
Friday, June 8, 7:00, and Saturday, June 9, 3:00
Series runs through July 1
Bud Cort (Harold) and Ruth Gordon (Maude) are magnificent in this glorious black comedy from director Hal Ashby (The Last Detail, Shampoo, Being There) and writer Colin Higgins. Harold is an eighteen-year-old rich kid obsessed with death, regularly flirting with suicide. Maude is a fun-loving, free-spirited senior citizen approaching her eightieth birthday. Ashby throws in just the right amount of post-1960s social commentary, including a very funny antiwar scene, without becoming overbearing, as this could have been a maudlin piece of sentimental claptrap, but instead it’s far from it. Even the Cat Stevens soundtrack ("If You Want to Sing Out, Sing Out," "Tea for the Tillerman," "Where Do the Children Play?") works. Harold and Maude is a tender, uproarious, bittersweet tale that is one of the best of its kind, completely unforgettable, enlightening, and, ultimately, life-affirming in its own odd way. Harold and Maude is screening June 8 & 9 as part of the Museum of the Moving Image series “Paramount in the 1970s,” a month of films from the studio that changed the shape of American popular cinema during the decade that began with the Vietnam War and ended with the Reagan revolution. The series, which celebrates Paramount’s centennial, also includes such terrific films as Peter Bogdanovich’s Paper Moon, Roman Polanski’s Chinatown and The Tenant, John Schlesinger’s Marathon Man, and Francis Ford Coppola’s The Conversation.