Long before Amelie was relocating garden gnomes and Helena Bonham Carter was liberating laundry, there was the unbeatable free spirit prototype, Maude. 50 years ago this December, Harold and Maude's titular septuagenarian was stealing hearses from funerals, hijacking trees to replant in the forest, and outsmarting cops like a flower powered Bugs Bunny.
Sadly and unsurprisingly, audiences in 1971 were too boring to embrace an elderly woman having a romance with a younger man, so Harold and Maude tanked at the box office.But history has since redeemed this dark comedy love story between two eccentric funeral crashers, a morose suicidal youth and life-loving old kook. It's a cult classic, it's on the American Film Institute's list of 100 Funniest Movies of all Time, and it was selected for preservation by the National Film Registry for being "culturally, historically or aesthetically significant". Not to mention, the soundtrack by Cat Stevens is banging.
I only recently learned that screenwriter Colin Higgins had envisioned a prequel mash-up to Harold and Maude that I would personally kill to see called Grover and Maude where Maude learns how to steal cars from Grover Muldoon, Richard Pryor's character in Higgins' 1976 film Silver Streak.