Tony Mastroianni Review Collection
Film is Funny as a Funeral
Cleveland Press December 27, 1971
This is a movie that is advertised as one that will make you laugh, make you cry and make you think. I think I laughed when I should have been crying, was nearly moved to tears at what passed as humor and I kept thinking, "My God, what an awful movie."
Harold is a 20-year-old neurotic with suicidal tendencies who finds happiness with an 80-year-old eccentric.
It is a "Love Story" for people who go to funerals to have a good time. In fact, going to funerals to have a good time is what Harold and Maude do. That's where they meet, at the funeral of a person who is a stranger to both.
Isn't love grand?
The picture opens with Harold attempting suicide by hanging. His mother's reaction to seeing his dangling body is to complete her social phone call and then remind him not to be late to dinner.
Hanging, trying to blow his brains out, slashing his wrists and self-immolation are all part of his act, and an act it is it develops as the movie goes on.
If the first suicide attempt had been successful the movie would have been vastly improved.
Maude is approaching her 80th birthday and finds pleasure in attending wakes, stealing cars and other things and generally defying society. This, I guess, is supposed to give the picture youth appeal.
I don't know that the youthful audience will much care nor will it identify with a boy who makes the bedroom scene with an 80-year-old girlfriend.
Ruth Gordon as Maude carries off her impossible assignment which was hardly worth the bother. Bud Cort plays Harold as though he were a walking corpse.
Vivian Pickles as his exasperated mother is quite good.
"Harold and Maude" is the movie to see when you get tired of pulling the wings off of flies and chopping off puppy dogs' tales.