Harold & Maude Trivia
Anyone who's seen Harold & Maude more than a few times (this probably means you) notices interesting tidbits and trivia. This is the place to be a total Harold and Maude geek, get your questions answered, share trivia with the rest of us. You can send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org with your additions to this page -- most of the items below have been submitted by fans (anything written below without attribution represents my own thoughts.
OK, an easy one to start. The concentration camp tattoo on Maude's arm (which we only see for an instant) is something a lot of people miss the first time they see the movie (I did). Since we also learn that Maude grew up in Vienna ("but that was all before"), I thought at first that we're supposed to infer that she grew up Jewish in pre-war Austria. But another fan convinced me that it's more likely that she was imprisoned by the Nazis because it was in her nature to fight against tyranny then, just as she does (in her own, individual way...) later on in America.
Next, a whole LOT of new trivia that just came in (7/4/07) from Nicole (email@example.com). Here it is: - In all shots of Ruth Gordon (Maude) driving the hearse it is being towed because she never learned how to drive a car. - Director Cameo: Hal Ashby, the bearded man seen briefly in the amusement park arcade. - Cameo: Cat Stevens, the composer and performer of the original music for the movie can be seen in one of the funeral scenes. He is the person behind which Maude hides after she tries to get Harold's attention by hissing. - Visible crew/equipment: When Maude pulls the banjo out of a cabinet, you see the reflection of crew and lights. - Harold holds back a chuckle when visiting Uncle Victor for the 1st time. - Girl smiles at funeral when Maude tries to capture Harold's attention. - Harold hits his head with the shovel as he prepares to hop on the motorcycle to escape from the cop. - About 50 minutes into the film, when Maude is doing donuts around the officer, the driver-side window of the truck is alternately up/down between shots. - When Harold and Maude steal the tree to replant in the forest, they are hauling it in the back of a truck. For one shot of the truck driving away, the tree disappears (shot from behind), then reappears for all subsequent shots. - "If You Want to Sing Out, Sing Out," and "Don't Be Shy" were written JUST for "Harold and Maude"! - Release Date of Harold and Maude: 20 December 1971 (USA) - The hearse Harold originally drives is a 1959 Cadillac Superior 3-way model that is one of the most sought after hearses among collectors today but at the time was considered nothing more than an undesirable used car which was purchased for a few hundred dollars. -The Jaguar hearse was really destroyed at the end and no replica exists because they only constructed one version for filming. - While watching a sunset with Harold, Maude sees a flock of seagulls and refers to Dreyfus. Alfred Dreyfus (1859-1935), a Jewish officer in the French army, was wrongly convicted of treason in 1894, and sentenced to life in solitary confinement on Devil's Island (a penal colony off the coast of French Guiana). He was pardoned five years later, and ultimately exonerated when the evidence against him was proved false. - Cat Stevens originally did not release "If you want to sing out, sing out," or "Don't Be Shy" for public just so that more people would go to the theatres to see the film merely for those two songs! He finally released the songs in 1984. - Cat Stevens' CD, "Footsteps In the Dark," is his only album that features the songs "If You Want To Sing Out, Sing Out," and "Don't Be Shy," and is also his only album that made a public reference to Harold and Maude.
More movie connections (again, from Nicole)for Harold and Maude: Version of Gregors größte Erfindung (2001), Remade as Harold et Maud (1978), (TV) Harold i Mod (2001) (TV). Edited into The Kid Stays in the Picture (2002). Referenced in Quadrophenia (1979), Scavenger Hunt (1979), Full Moon High (1981), There's Something About Mary (1998) (Mary tells Ted that her favorite movie is Harold and Maude), Rushmore (1998), AFI's 100 Years, 100 Laughs: America's Funniest Movies (2000) (TV), My First Mister (2001), Y tu mamá también (2001), Easy Riders, Raging Bulls: How the Sex, Drugs and Rock 'N' Roll Generation Saved Hollywood (2003). Referenced as part of the documentary Klais? (2004), Mrs. Palfrey at the Claremont (2005) (the leads' friendship is mocked as a "Harold and Maude" affair by someone unaware that it's more like a grandson-grandmother friendship). The film is mentioned in the novel The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky. Featured in Precious Images (1986), Hurlyburly (1998,) AFI's 100 Years, 100 Laughs: America's Funniest Movies (2000) (TV), AFI's 100 Years... 100 Passions (2002) (TV), Easy Riders, Raging Bulls: How the Sex, Drugs and Rock 'N' Roll Generation Saved Hollywood (2003). Clips used as part of the documentary A Decade Under the Influence (2003), Sex at 24 Frames Per Second (2003) (TV), Documentary about Sex in Films Imaginary Witness: Hollywood and the Holocaust (2004). Spoofed in Dead End (1985) (one zombie continues trying to "kill himself" with no luck, in similar ways to Harold in Harold & Maude), Niagara, Niagara (1997). Songs Mentioned in the song "A New Friend" on the CD "Album of the Year" by Good Life.
And even more trivia from Nicole: The freeze frame of the Jaguar hearse in midair in the final sequence is the result of an accident. The single camera capturing the action did not start filming until well after the car had careened off the cliff, and since only one hearse had been prepared for the film, it was impossible to reshoot the shot. Harold and Maude played for a total of 1,957 showings from mid 1972 until June 1974 at the Westgate Theater in Edina, Minnesota. Ruth Gordon appeared for the first anniversary celebration and both Ruth and Bud showed up for the second anniversary. [NOTE from Mike, your host: I remember that Harold and Maude played every Saturday night at the campus theater in Ann Arbor, Michigan back in the ‘80s.]
I recently came across your Harold and Maude site and I very much enjoyed reading it. I remember seeing the film when it came out in the early 70's and I have it on DVD. It still remains one of my favorites to this day. I might be able to shed a little light on a bit of the car trivia for you. As a longtime Jaguar XKE owner (I have two '69's) I can tell you that the grey OTS-open two seater, Jaguarspeak for roadster-that Harold receives gift-wrapped is a 1971 Series 2 model. You can identify this by the small rectangular "leaper" badge low on the bonnet behind the front wheel; it was a one year only addition to the car done in 1971. The "Hearse" car is a bit of a mystery as to year, but a good guess would be a '61 to'65. It is clearly as Series 1 coupe ('61-'68). Remembering that this film was shot on a tight budget, there was probably not a lot of extra money to purchase a perfectly good car, modify it and then destroy it in the end. It would have made sense to locate an early, high-mileage coupe that could have damage coverable by the hearse back or was just on it's last legs. Either way, there are way too many indicators that make it clear that it is a Series 1 coupe dressed it up to give it a passing resemblance to a Series 2 car, which is all that would be needed. Other than the 3/4 rear shot in the beginning, the shots of the car are mostly quick, at a distance very close up or obscured by trees. At any rate, anyone with a decent knowledge of the various series of E's can clearly spot this "sleight of hand". I hope that this helps shed a little more light the origin of the "Hearse". It would be interesting to hear from someone with a direct knowledge of the car's construction. Bob
Thanks to Paige for this info: The cliff Bud Cort drove his car off at the end of Harold and Maude: http://platial.com/place/36477
---I also inferred that Maude was Jewish, but that is not necessarily true, because the Nazis rounded up gays, gypsies, the political opposition and anyone else who was different or openly dissenting. Since Maude protested (the umbrella), I suspect that's another reason for which she might have been put in the camps. At any rate, when you say that Maude grew up in "pre-war" Austria, it would be pre-WWI even, since her year of birth would be 1891. Also, I wondered if Frederique turned her in, "He was so serious...a professor at the University...and in the government." (Then she cries.) Much like the McCarthy era in this country, the rise of the Nazi party resulted in many people naming names to save their own behind. The groups typically targeted by right-wing extremists are university students, professors, and artists, in addition to the obvious political activists of the opposition. -- Erica Jackson, San Francisco (Sub2RainEN@aol.com)
The French surname "Chardin" is as Jewish as the French surname "Dreyfus". Just thought you would like to know. So more than likely Maude was a Jewish Concentration Camp Survivor.
---Here are some further thoughts about Maude and the concentration camp. I don't think that Maude was Jewish based on the clues she gave about her life -- I have the impression that Jews in Europe at that time didn't usually get invited to garden parties at palaces, or dream about marrying soldiers. But also, I would rather think that she wasn't Jewish because if she was Jewish she would have been sent to a concentration camp regardless, but if she was not, she had a choice. She =could= have been safe if she had just kept quiet and gone along with the Nazis, but being Maude, she would have found that unthinkable. I think she went to the camp because she had the courage to defy Nazi tyranny, and even in the camp her spirit was unbreakable. When Harold looks at her tattoo, she pulls her arm away from him and points to the sky, and tells him that you can see beautiful symbols of freedom like seagulls even in the worst moments of your life. -- Gayle (firstname.lastname@example.org) On the subject of Maude being a concentration camp survivor, the fact that she lives in a train carriage clearly refers to this -- she is subverting a symbol of the death camps (the mode of transport used to move people to the camps), turning it into a shrine to freedom. Paul Cooke (email@example.com)
There's one thing missing from this site. Maude's home was a railroad car known to be parked at Oyster Point. But where did the car come from and where is it now? The car - Western Pacific lounge 653 - was leased from the Western Railway Museum at Rio Vista Junction in Solano County (about 60 miles east of San Francisco) and moved to its filming location. As a lounge car built in 1931, the car had seen years of service. When the studio painters arrived to install the fake fireplace shown in the film, they had the mean job of matching interior paint colors. "Jesus.", said the head painter, "This is years of nicotene on the paint. How am I going to match this crap!" When filming was finished, the car returned to the Museum. And, yes, the fake fireplace still survives but is no longer mounted inside the car. Rick (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Lots of people want to know if there is a sound track to Harold and Maude. Well, not in the United States. But a soundtrack was released in Japan (see album cover at right) -- check out this page that's all about this soundtrack. There's good info on all of the songs here. You can get all of the songs from the movie on various Cat Stevens albums. Cat Stevens' "Classics Volume 24" is probably the closest thing to a soundtrack for the movie (includes "If You Want to Sing Out, Sing Out", "On the Road to Found Out", "Trouble" and "Where Do the Children Play"). Other CDs with Harold and Maude songs on them include Footsteps In The Dark , Tea for the Tillerman and Mona Bone Jakon .
The Chasen family mansion is actually the Rose Court Mansion in Hillsborough, California, south of San Francisco. The butler in the film (Henry Dieckoff) was the actual butler of the house -- the original script called for him to drop the lemonade tray after "Sunshine" does her Juliet imitation, but the butler thought it unbutler-like, and so Vivian Pickles had to do it!
When Harold comes to Maude's for oat straw tea and ginger pie, she leaves the room when the kettle starts to boil. Harold tries for a moment to stick his head through the wooden sculpture that Maude has told him to "caress: and explore" . . . The entire movie is about rebirth, in a way, and this scene is a "tactile" example of that, as Harold tries to put his head through the vagina-like sculpture. But I also think (and I may be a minority here) that it's Harold attempting another suicide -- a last gasp of his instinct to seek attention through suicide attempts -- I think we're supposed to see one final attempt before he finally sees Maude's view of the world.
I read through the trivia page on your Harold and Maude site. No one has asked what kind of motorcycle Tom Skerritt used to chase down Maude on the Dumbarton Bridge. Well folks, it is a 1971 or so Moto Guzzi Ambassador 750 (manufactured in Mandello del Lario, Lake Como, Italy). Occasionally used by Police Departments. They are now valuable collector items and sell for more than when they were new. This is one of the more popular movies for our moto-enthusiasts. - Patrick Hayes Life Member, Moto Guzzi National Owners Club
This is Mike - so this next entry isn't trivia, but it's one of my favorite posts ever to the guestbook on this site. An entry by a schoolteacher who posted several months ago, then a followup email in response to a question I asked her after seeing the first post:
"I am a Drama/English high school teacher. One of my classes is Novel/Film, where we read original works and then view the movie. We have seen the usual classics, such as "To Kill a Mockingbird" and others, but recently my students asked me to choose my favorite film -- one that I loved when I was their age -- 18. I realized, after a few minutes of contemplation, it had to be Harold and Maude. So I rented it, watched it again for the first time in twentysomething years, and it all came back -- Cat Stevens, Bud Cort (with whom I once shared a joint at a terrible party in LA), the beautiful Ruth Gordon. I realized that H&M wasn't just my favorite movie as an 18 year old, it is one of my favorite movies of all time. I've just been too busy with life to give much thought to this fact, but then I think that's just what Maude would've wanted. I can't wait to show it to my students. Think they'll like it? We'll see." [Many weeks later - my email: "Hi - I'm the webmaster of the Harold and Maude web site. I was just going over the comments in the guest book (I'm having to pare it down a bit), and came across your post (below). I'm just curious to know how your class liked the movie? Mike"] "Hi Mike! to answer your question, they loved it. Many asked to watch it during their lunch breaks and study halls. Other teachers asked to show it to their classes. By the time I returned it to the vidoe store (with a major late fee) I think every one in our school had seen it. We have a very small high school, about 100 kids. I believe I heard only 2 negative responses. It also brought about an interest in Cat Stevens -- so I unearthed my old CS music for the musicians at school. Funny how he's in the news again, eh? I had and have a very good rapport with my students, but I think H&M not only endeared me to them a bit more, but, more importantly, showed them that the feelings they are experiencing now in their early adulthood are not new, or hopeless, but ageless and universal..."
---I must say that I really had never even considered the possibilty of it being a "Harold being Harold" suicide attempt. I always figured that Harold was just... I hate to sound so corny... getting in touch with his less platonic side. My thought was that Harold looked to see if Maude was turned around, because he was like a little kid, metaphorically sneaking glances of 'dirty books' or something of the like. Perhaps he was just timid to show that side of himself in front of Maude; he obviously consiously or subconsiously realized the meaning of Maude's sculpture. And I thought the noises he uttered were just his getting carried away by the moment; they always sounded more ecstatic to me, than scared. And when he closes his eyes so longingly when Maude is doing the "Breath of Fire," I considered that sort of a continuation to his reaction to the suggestive sculpture. Harold's reactions were very innocent and lacked the cover of any machismo (he he, sorry to use such a discordant word) so I think they could be easily mis-interpreted, or at least interpreted in different ways. -- RMCole (email@example.com)
The exact model of Jaguar that Harold drives? Well, thanks to Daisy and Devin Kinkaid (firstname.lastname@example.org), Chris Brown (email@example.com) and Cuno Schneeberger (firstname.lastname@example.org), here's the answer: The jaguar is an XKE Series 2 roadster (i.e., a convertible). The Series 2 ('69 to '71) did not have a V12 engine, but a 4.2 litre inline six. Chris says that his guess is that the movie makers took the convertible and fabricated the hearse top/rear, rather than getting a hard-top and altering it. You can check out here for reference.
From a Jaguar mechanic who cringes every time I see the Jag go over the cliff: first of all it is a Jaguar E-type. They were built from 1962-1974. From the headlights and tail lights it is a car built after 1967. But because of the twin (rather than four) exhaust pipes it has a six cylinder engine, instead of the V12. They started putting V12 engines in the car in 1971. So it is a 68-70, six cylinder E-type convertible. Ben Simpson (BenSimpson@juno.com)
How to describe Maude's philosophy??? Carpe diem?? Taoist?? I think Maude has a lot of Buddhist tendencies. "Here today, gone tomorrow -- *so* it's best not to get attached to things!" And "I've collected a few things in my time . . . but it's all incidental, not integral, if you you know what I mean."
I assume everyone knows this one: The hitch hiker that Harold and Maude pass on the road (I think when they are saving the tree) is Cat Stevens. Most people probably don't know this: During the first funeral scene in the church when Harold and Maude first meet, she says: "...at 85 you're just marking time." Then they walk out the church door and the marching band is going by. The leader of the marching band (whatever he/she is called) blows on the whistle 3 or 4 times - that is called "marking time". I learned this little tidbit when I dragged my mother to the movie back in 1982, she used to be in marching bands.... As for the philosophy that Maude eschews: also back in 1982 I wrote a philosophy paper for my college freshman philosophy class juxtaposing Maude's approach to life with Camus's theory of the "absurd man". Basically, as I remember my arguement 24 years later (damn that's scary), Camus argued that there is no meaning to life so go ahead and be abusrd and meangingless and perverse but Maude argued that there was no meaning to life so go ahead and live it with love and compassion to the fullest because you have nothing to lose - or something like that. I first saw the movie in 1980 as a 15 year old - to say it changed my life would be trite and an understatement. I have seen it no less than 40 times and introduced at least that many people to it over the years. The night of my 18th birthday I went to the Boston Public Library to listen to Ruth Gordon give a talk. It is still my goal to be her/Maude when I grow up. - Shastine Keeney
---I'd definately vote for Maude being Buddhist. BTW, the friend who gave her the car keys did so just before he left for the "monastary in Tibet." So, if Maude ISN'T a Buddhist...at least she has a friend who is. -- Erica Jackson, San Francisco (Sub2RainEN@aol.com)
In 1973, I did a report for a U.S.C film class wherein I described how Paramount had mishandled the promotion of "Harold And Maude," one of my favorite films. Imagine my happiness when I was able to be one of the Music Editors of "Foul Play" and finally got to meet this hero of mine on the dubb stage on a daily basis. I presented Higgins a copy of my "Harold and Maude" report and asked if he could sign my "Harold and Maude" hardback book. He said with a smile, "Sure, if you autograph your report." He was then kind enough to ask if I thought if "Foul Play" would have any troubles with promotion. I told him I thought it would be a big hit and would obviously be far easier to promote. I mentioned that I found it interesting that both Goldie Hawn and Ruth Gordon carried umbrellas for protection and he joked, "Yeah, I just write the same thing over and over." My favorite scene in "Harold and Maude" is when Harold tells Maude that he wishes he could "be a daisy because they're all alike." Maude responds, "Oh, but they're not. If you look carefully, some are bigger, some smaller, some lean to the left, some to the right. You see, Harold, I think that much of the world's problems are because people who are this (she holds up the daisy) and yet allow themselves to be treated as that." In the movie, the camera pulls back, revealing lookalike tombstones at a military cemetery and the wonderful Cat Stevens score eases in. With the photography and music, it's actually a much more powerful scene in the movie than in the book. Another favorite is Harold saying he enjoys being dead. Maude then cheers, "...They're just backing away from life. Give me an L. Give me an I. Give me a V. Give me an E. L-I-V-E, Live! Otherwise, you'll have nothing to talk about in the locker room." This scene is the one Higgins was given as an test audition at Paramount when he was trying to become the director of "Harold And Maude." Higgins later said that, in trying to impress Paramount, he felt he kind of rushed directing the scene and should have taken longer. I went to Colin Higgins' memorial after his death from aids and was terribly sad over the loss of such a young talented writer/director. I sometimes think that Higgins, being gay, perhaps could relate to the oppression that both Harold and Maude endured. I still remember his face...amazingly handsome. But, of course, Higgins' true beauty was within his soul. His memory lives on in a Colin Higgins Foundation which gives grants to people who have faced or fought bigotry. I often wonder what he might be writing in our times today. email@example.com
My absolute favorite piece of Maudism is the seagull scene -- for me, one of the most beautiful scenes in moviedom -- an expression of how to find beauty in the simplest things. Maude and Harold are sitting on the shore of San Francisco Bay, watching a beautiful sunset, when Maude sees some gulls soaring overhead. Her joy reminds her of a story that Dreyfuss had once written about [some backround here -- Dreyfuss was the famous French Jewish army officer who was unfairly accused of selling military secrets in the late 1800's by fascist nationalist types. He was arrested and put in prison on Devil's Island in French Guyana, in South America. Emile Zola published a famous and fierce denunciation of the military authorities in 1898, called "J'Accuse."] Dreyfuss was imprisoned in solitary confinement on Devil's Island, with nothing to do but stare out of his cell, where for years he had been thrilled to watch "the most *beautiful* birds." Maude quotes Dreyfuss: "Later on in Brittany, I realized that they had only been seagulls." There's a pause, while the Cat Stevens music swells a bit, and then Maude explains to Harold: "For me, they will *always* be glorious birds."
-- To the insightful comments on the seagull scene already posted, I would like to add another observation about it. That is, WHEN Maude talks about Dreyfuss and the seagulls. What happens immediately before she says it? Harold notices the tattoo on her arm. And, observant as she is, she notices that he knows it. He doesn't know what to say about it. H&M is a movie that can offer you new insights viewing after viewing, and I remember about the tenth viewing I suddenly gasped and got chills during the seagull scene when I realized WHY she starts to talk about Dreyfuss and Devil's Island and the seagulls *right at at that moment*. She is addressing Harold's unspoken question about her experiences in the concentration camp. She is really talking about HERSELF and the attitude that she brought to the concentration camp. "Later on, HE realized that they had only been seagulls. But TO ME they will always be glorious birds." Seagulls are a symbol of freedom and she is telling Harold that she was able to keep her mind free and joyous even in the worst circumstances. -- Gayle (TiabMaps@aol.com)
Did you ever notice, during the scene with the police officer, when he tells both H&M to get out of the car, that Harold is getting out his checkbook? But Harold doesn't have a chance to bribe the poor, unfortunate officer before Maude and he drive off with his motorcycle. I figured that this sort of affluent behavior ran in the family, since Harold's father had bribed the police after the rubber water wing incident. -- Corie Cole, Louisville, Kentucky (firstname.lastname@example.org)
I disagree... from what I see, it looks like he is taking out his wallet to give the cop his drivers license as he knows that Maude doesn't have one. -- Maureen (Mortiifera@aol.com)
Did anyone else notice that when Maude got on the cop's bike and said, "Grab the shovel Harold!", that when Harold grabbed and went to get on the back of the bike, he bopped himself in the forehead with it? He lets out a little squawk when he does it! I doubt that was in the script! -- Yvonne Davis, Riverside,CA (email@example.com)
Most people aren't aware that the motorcycle cop that stops Maude a couple of times was played (unacredited ) by Tom Skerritt (of the movie "M*A*S*H" and to TV show "Picket Fences"). I don't know why he used an assumed name for the part. Also, Tom liked to improvise, while Ruth always insisted on saying the lines exactly as written. If you listen to their exchanges, you can tell that some of the replies she makes to him have nothing to do with what he just said. And to answer the "shovel to the head" comment -- yes, Harold does smack himself quite hard with the shovel as he climbs on the motorcycle. Bud said that it hurt like hell, but he didn't want to ruin the shoot. -- John Gaspard (firstname.lastname@example.org)
In the scene at the amusement park where Harold says that a ride "wasn't very scary," was the "Trabant" located at the westernmost end of the Santa Cruz Boardwalk, nearest the Casino Arcade. It was replaced a few years ago with a giant "pirate ship" ride. The ride operator in that scene (he wears sunglasses -- at night) was played by a guy who was,, for a while anyway, instantly recognizable to Santa Cruz locals. Any kid who ever worked there probably suffered having h im for a boss. Irene Berry (email@example.com)
I actually know quite a bit of H&M history. Back in 1978 during the height of my H&M obsession, I had the occasion to go to Los Angeles, and I spent quite a bit of time doing H&M research there. Besides reading the script at the UCLA library as I mentioned, I went to the Academy of MPAS,library, which maintains a clipping file on all movies and everyone in the movie biz who gets written about, and I read all of the material that they had about H&M and everyone involved in it who had articles written about them. That was where I saw the photos of Hal Ashby. But, besides that, the,year before I had written a fan letter to Colin Higgins and he had answered, and his stationery contained his office phone number, so when in LA I called his office. He was off shooting FOUL PLAY at the time, but his assistant, whose name was Janet, talked to me for about three hours about her boss, and by then I felt like I knew him. -- Gayle (firstname.lastname@example.org)
In the scene where Harold and Maude are at the amusement park and playing with the model train, in the first scene the guy with the long beard is director Hal Ashby (who has mysteriously disappeared in the next scene with the model trains. (Thanks to Steve Coleman (Steve4nLng@aol.com) and Gayle (email@example.com))
I thoroughly enjoyed your page. I never realized so many felt so strongly about my all-time favorite film. It makes me laugh, cry and think -- most movies do none of the above, let alone all three. The observations about the writing, acting, setting and soundtrack all fitting together are dead-on. This holistic approach is really the height of film-making. It's not like some cynical BS, Pulp Fiction for example, where, no matter all the misguided rave reviews about how revolutionary the film is nor how "perfect" the soundtrack, I deeply suspect it's all a marketing scam and the masses bought it, literally. But then again, I'm a snob. As your page suggests, I've often asked people what their favorite movie is as an indication of character. If they say Pulp Fiction, I think perhaps this person thinks they are unique and think for themself, but in reality, they are sheep (with a dark side, even). Thus far, and much to my dismay, no one has ever named H & M as their favorite. Someday... Erica Jackson, San Francisco (Sub2RainEN@aol.com)
What do you think: Does Harold stage the suicides or is he immortal? I like to think that he is the one with everything who is still miserable while Maude is the one who's gone through the worst yet still loves life. -- Daisy and Devin Kinkaid (firstname.lastname@example.org)
During the "Trouble" scene near the end of the film, you can read some of the words Harold is mouthing to the nurses. I think one of the things he says is "Can't you do something? she's dying!" and another was "I have Money!" -- Megan (Gracie909@aol.com)
As many of you know, Harold and Maude was Colin Higgins' thesis for the UCLA screenwriting MFA program. A little-known fact is that the professor told Collin that Maude should live at the end! -- Constance (email@example.com)
OK, enough people have asked about who I am (you know, the creator of this site) that I thought i'd link to a personal site I created a long time ago (and never updated, so it's pretty primitive!) If you're really interested, you can go here to find out.
As a bit of trivia---did you know bud cort appeared at the end of Sweet Charity as a hippy lad & handed a flower to Charity? A sunflower for you, Marjorie (aka Gabrielle)
In real life, Ruth Gordon never learned to drive a car! (Taken from the autobiography) -- Lane R. Ellis (firstname.lastname@example.org)
I love all the comical touches -- it makes the film more credible and lesspreachy. Sunshine slipping on the way to the music room, for example, kills me everytime. Ever notice the way Mrs. Chasen, when she swims past Harold, looks in his direction, turns away and rolls her eyes? That cracks me up! Like I said before, this film has it all, I'll add humor, wisdom, heart, fairness (it picks at everyone!) and remarkable symbolism and structure, the more you watch it, the more you see that you missed before. -- Erica (TenderLonr@aol.com)
As an art student, one thing I notice about Harold and Maude is that just about every frame could stand alone, with it's own visual meaning. Focal point and all. That's one of the great things that seperates this movie from others. It's not only a great movie on a plot level, but also on an art movie. -- Emily (HulaFish@aol.com)
Ellen Geer, who plays one of the "dates", is Will Geer's daughter. She helps run a live theater n LA, and does a lot of theater work. -- Gayle (TiabMaps@aol.com) [Note from Mike: she is also putting on a production of Harold and Maude in LA this summer (2000), and she plays the part of Maude.]
The Harold and Maude novel explains a couple of things. First, when Maude has pinched Harold's hearse and is offering him a lift, the priest asks Maude if she was also the one who "painted the saints." In his church, Maude had painted smiles onto all the pictures of the saints, as she thought they looked unhappy and too serious. Second, for his drowning suicide, Harold had put together a small breathing apparatus/aqualung device which he concealed under his clothing. This was later put to use when Harold and Maude staged Maude's death to stop Harold being drafted into the army -- she uses the device when she falls through the hole and into the water. -- Richard Wise (email@example.com)
I was consumed by all things Harold and Maude as a teenager, and since I am from the Peninsula, I would go and seek out places where they filmed and "hang out" there! When I was in high school, I used my drama class for an excuse and went over to the emergency ward at Peninsula Hospital, and said I had to write a report about acting or some such story. Anyway, it turns out that there were a few of the nurses on duty that were also on duty the night of the filming! I don't remember everything they said, but they mentioned that the filming took all night long, and there were a whle bunch of fresh flowers there that they kept replacing, as the one in Maude's hand kept wilting throughout the night. The young girl with dark eyes and long brown hair who is walking during the rainy funeral scene is a girl who I was in summer high school musical with. Other shenanigans include calling Bud Cort's brother on the phone in Rye, New York (listed under Cox's Clothing or Cox's Men's Clothing...) and calling up the special effects guy A.D. Flowers in L.A. (he was not too amused, and basically said, "Look, kid, I don't have time for this!"). Long live Harold! -- Maria (firstname.lastname@example.org)
The reason the car stops mid-frame at the end of the movie, going over the cliff? All cameras except for one froze up at that time, so only the one was left running. They had to use that shot, because they didn't have another ccar. My husband worked with Colin Higgins' cousin at the time of the making of "Foul Play." My husband also knew one of the men who put together the hearse/jag -- an old family friend. Deborah Peeples (email@example.com)
Hi, I guess it goes without saying that Harold and Maude is my favourite movie, and I appreciate your trivia page. Anyway, there was this photoshop theme of Vs., as in fights, so I thought who would be a better fight than Harold against Maude. http://holloway.co.nz/harold-against-maude.jpg (better quality version, just change to .png)
Satch Carlson in Anchorage (firstname.lastname@example.org) submitted this one: It was a big kick to discover that the "Jaag-into-Hearse" scene has finally been cited as the basis for BMW's odd-looking little M couple (introduced in 1997). For several years now, critics have called the squat little toad just about everything but wonderful - but it is. It has the same insouciance as the wonderful scene where you see it coming off the jacks -- as a miniature hearse -- after you've just seen Harold spark off a torch and drop the mask... Anyway, BMW's designers have rather gleefully told us where their idea came from: Harold and Maude! We've written the following article for Roundel, a magazine that goes out to 50,000 BMW junkies:
The cult of the coupe had its own cult beginnings.
"Oh, my lord," I said, "that car is butt ugly! How could they do that?" I can still recall that traumatic morning; I was at the September 1997 Frankfurt Auto Show for Roundel with Bob Roemer and Yale Rachlin, covering the newest BMW arrival. There it was, the new M coupe---the centerpiece of the BMW display---and seeing it for the first time I could only shake my head and wonder how they could come up with such a squat, ugly toad. What were they thinking?! It turns out that a better question would have been, "What were they watching?" It took three years and another auto show to come up with the answer. This April, hanging out at the New York Auto Show with Phil Marx and Klaus Schnitzer, I got wind of the real origins of the M coupe's design. But by that time---well, it's been an interesting time since that Frankfurt show.
Back then I had a lot of company in my opinion---and that opinion was pretty strong. I even mustered up the courage to discuss it with BMW's head designer, Chris Bangle. He stood next to the M coupe patiently allowing me to vent, and when I finally finished, he smiled and said; "My friend, you must learn to study a design, to give it time; don't judge things so rashly." At the time I thought he was nuts: I didn't need anyone to tell me what I liked. And when it comes to an ugly car, I knew there wouldn't ever be enough time left in my life to change my mind.
Then came M Day in Spartanburg, a rainy-day celebration of all things M---and of course they had to let in that homely coupe, now, didn't they? It was my first chance to drive one---and at least if you're inside it, you don't have to look at it. Besides, what BMW does best makes you forget all the rest: Even though I only drove the car a few thousand feet in the autocross, I was impressed. "Wow, pretty awesome," I said. "Too bad it's so darn ugly."
M Day was followed by the December issue---with an M coupe on the cover. Even Schnitzer's adorable twins couldn't hide the nature of the car. Then came a reprieve: During the next several months the coupe never crossed my mind. In fact, I didn't see another one until Gateway Tech in 1999, where there in the vendor area sat this simple pearlescent-white M coupe: I swear there must have been something hypnotic about its color, something illegal in the paint fumes, because I couldn't take my eyes off that car. Almost magically its curves came alive; shapes that had never before appealed to my senses were calling out to me. I found my eyes following all the different lines that made up the coupe's design; I particularly liked the one that started under the kidney grilles to sweep up the hood and then back under the side glass. From certain angles I found the car to be downright. . . sensuous. Beautiful, in fact. My God, did I say the B word? What was going on?
Later that year Carlson dragged me back to Germany for the Frankfurt Show, so we had to rent a car, and he insisted we needed something very BMW. "Do you think," I found myself saying, "we could rent a coupe?" Naturally, it was a bright red 2.8-liter Z3---even if an M was available, Carlson would never go for it; this is the guy who had them stuff a rollaway into a room the siz of a phone booth so three of us could share a room for the New York show. But even without the M, it was a wonderful ride---and Carlson was impressed enough to open to hood to make sure we hadn't lucked onto an M coupe by mistake. Nope; just a Z3, but great fun launching assaults up and down the autobahn. Even in Germany people stared at us wherever we went---it was the car, not its occupants, I tell you---and despite the fact that we had the smaller engine and the standard suspension, the car still felt wonderful; it's a real point-and-shoot kind of ride. Before I understood what was happening, I was in love, as sappy a two-hankie movie.
Which is appropriate, because at this year's New York Auto Show I found out that the car came from a movie. A love story, actually: Harold and Maude. According to BMW insiders---including the General Manager for Advanced Design himself, Thomas Plath---he and Bangle were kicking around ideas at the Forschungs und Ingenieurzentrum (FIZ to us mortals), pondering over projects, trying to come up with something new and exciting and maybe a little. . . disturbing. . . and somebody mentioned Harold and Maude. You probably remember Hal Ashby's classic cult treasure, wherein young Harold (Bud Cort) drives his mother (Vivian Pickles) crazy by (among other things) falling in love with elderly Maude (Ruth Gordon). Harold is obsessed with death, going to funerals for fun and driving a '59 Cadillac hearse. At one point his mother gets rid of the hearse and gives Harold a brand new E -Type Jaguar. . . and in the next scene you see Harold sparking off a huge cutting torch. . . and in the next scene you see the car coming down off the jacks as a miniature Jaguar hearse.
Sure, that's it: Let's build the Jag hearse from Harold and Maude, only as a BMW (and let's not throw it off the cliff in the final reel). And sure enough, the offshoot inspired by a cult film is becoming a cult classic in its own right; I predict that the M coupe will be the successor to the M3 as the car of choice for true hard-core Club performance diehards. Certainly the little cult icon has won over an alarming number of previously sane Bimmer junkies.
Like me. I want that white one from Gateway Tech. Harold would understand.
-- By Mark Jon Calabrese, from Roundel Magazine.
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