Cult Film Club Podcast Episode 5: Harold and Maude

On Episode 5 of the Cult Film Club, hosts Jaime, Paxton and Shawn are changing things up a bit by talking about the 1971 bleak romantic comedy Harold and Maude

Directed by Hal Ashby (The Last Detail, Coming Home, Being There) and starring Ruth Gordon (Adam’s Rib, Rosemary’s Baby) and Bud Cort (Brewster McCloud, M*A*S*H), the film centers on the spring/autumn relationship between the titular characters.  Harold is an ennui laden nineteen year-old obsessed with death, funerals and staging his own fake suicides, though he’s yearning to find a reason to live.  Maude is in the twilight of her life, bursting with energy and enthusiasm, though can relate to Harold’s obsessions in an all too real way.  Set to the music of Cat Stevens, Harold and Maude is as touching and uplifting as it is disturbing and downright depressing!

In the episode we discuss the themes of death and juxtaposition, as well as Ashby’s storybook film-making style. We take a closer look at some of the actors in our regular segment, Hey Do I Know That Guy, as well as playing Hollywood moguls in a segment we like to call It’s Time For a Recast!

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Films and TV Shows discussed in this episode include: Fight Club, Le Samourai, Romeo & Juliet, Thelma and Louise, The Royal Tenenbaums, Rushmore, Moonrise Kingdom, The Graduate, My Girl, Footloose, Arrested Development, Rosemary’s Baby, 9 to 5, Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, Foul Play, The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, Bate’s Motel, Adam’s Rib, Every Which Way But Loose, Every Which Way You Can, Eagleheart, Brewster McCloud. M*A*S*H, Being There, Coming Home, Shampoo, Coyote Ugly, The Last Detail, G.I. Joe A Real American Hero, The Slugger’s Wife, Mad Men, Angel, American Beauty, Reds, Ender’s Game, Hugo, Freaks and Geeks, The Incredible Shrinking Woman, Parks and Rec, and Safety Not Guaranteed.

  • http://twitter.com/paxtonholley Paxton Holley

    If that poster doesn’t perfectly encapsulate the movie, then I don’t know what does.

    • http://www.shezcrafti.com/ ShezCrafti

      Do I need to post my picture of Steak’ems again?

      • http://www.brandedinthe80s.com/ Shawn Robare

        I think I photoshopped my face onto the wrong movie image for that one “Meet the Hosts” thing we did. Me on Harold, Steak’ems on Maude…

    • http://www.brandedinthe80s.com/ Shawn Robare

      I love that Harold is holding the “master” car key ring personally…

  • foxpenguin

    Hey guys! Just watched the movie for my second time, but listening to this episode for my first … Jaime raised a question I hadn’t thought of before- why does Maude want to commit suicide? Y’all also mentioned that her suicide came out of left field.

    Her suicide is foreshadowed in the film. The first time she speaks to Harold, at the funeral that is juxtaposed with the marching band, she asks if he knew the deceased. She says “I heard he was 80 years old. I’ll be 80 next week. A good time to move on, don’t you think? I mean, 75 is too early, but at 85, well, you’re just marking time and you may as well look over the horizon.”

    Then, when Harold is at her place, after admiring the large wooden vagina, they sit down for tea. He remarks that she doesn’t look 80, which she credits to among other things, the Breath of Fire. She demonstrates, and then gets winded. She says “Of course, there’s no doubt the body is giving out. I’m well into autumn. I’ll have to be giving it all up after Saturday.” She quickly changes the subject and suggests that Harold sweeten his tea with honey.

    Since I’d seen the movie before, I realized these lines were foreshadowing her demise. It may seem weird that someone who lived life to the fullest should want to commit suicide, but I suppose Maude wanted to die with dignity as well, and had long decided that 80 years was enough.

    Anyway, love the show, and I’m eagerly awaiting the next episode!

    Lake

    • http://www.brandedinthe80s.com/ Shawn Robare

      Good point on Maude’s suicide being foreshadowed. This movie is the perfect example of a flick where you get more out of it on repeat viewings for sure. Also, thanks for listening and new episodes should be dropping soon!

  • foxpenguin

    BTW, Bud Cort was not the original Radar in the movie MASH- Gary Burghoff was. Bud Cort played a different enlisted character, Private Boone.

    Burghoff was the only actor who appeared in the movie MASH and in the tv series as the same character …