Black comedies don't come much blacker than cult favourite, Harold and Maude
(1972), and they don't come much funnier either. It seems that director Hal Ashby was the perfect choice to mine a load of eccentricity from the original Colin Higgins script, about the unlikely romance between a death-obsessed 19-year-old named Harold (Bud Cort) and a life-loving 79-year-old widow named Maude (Ruth Gordon). They meet at a funeral, and Maude finds something oddly appealing about Harold, urging him to "reach out" and grab life by the lapels as opposed to dwelling morbidly on mortality. Harold grows fond of the old gal--she's a lot more fun than the girls his mother desperately tries to match him up with- -and together they make Harold and Maude
one of the sweetest and most unconventional love stories ever made. Much of the early humour arises from Harold' s outrageous suicide fantasies, played out as a kind of twisted parlour game to mortify his mother, who has grown immune to her strange son's antics. Gradually, however, the film's clever humour shifts to a brighter outlook and finally arrives at a point where Harold is truly happy to be alive. Featuring soundtrack songs by Cat Stevens, this comedy certainly won't appeal to all tastes (it was a box-office flop when first released), but if you're on its quirky wavelength, it might just strike you as one of the funniest films you've ever seen. --Jeff Shannon, Amazon.com
Hal Ashby's cult black-comedy. Harold (Bud Cort) is a death-obsessed teenager who hangs around in cemeteries and drives a hearse. When he attends a funeral and meets his polar opposite Maude (Ruth Gordon), a life-loving 79-year-old, a strange love affair ensues. However, the offbeat nature of their pairing, and their defiance of social convention, causes upset all around. With music by Cat Stevens.