Harold and Maude (1971)
Harold and Maude (1971)
Harold and Maude (1971)
Harold and Maude (1971)
Harold and Maude (1971)
Harold and Maude (1971)

Film Studies

Cinema Classics Seminar:
Harold and Maude

Wednesday, April 19, 6:30 pm to 9:30 pm  
Instructor: Amy Corbin, Ph.D., Director of Film Studies, Muhlenberg College

“If you want to sing out, sing out. . .”—these words from Harold and Maudes soundtrack encapsulate the film’s message of joyful nonconformity. Too strange even for the “New Hollywood” era, Harold and Maude failed both commercially and critically but has become a cult classic in the years since. The film follows detached 19-year-old Harold, who stages false suicide scenes to shock his wealthy, narcissistic mother. While attending the funerals of strangers, he comes to know 79-year-old Maude, whose vivacious anti-authority antics gradually pierce through his dour demeanor. The film convincingly traces their friendship as it turns into an unconventional love story.

In contrast to Harold’s family’s “old guard” Victorian mansion and his war-crazed military-veteran uncle, Maude is a hippie, but her age brings depth to this character type. She is a concentration camp survivor but never mentions her trauma; instead, she “borrows” cars for joy rides through the Bay Area and delights in evading the police. Both the sweetness and the ephemerality of their love is captured by the use of soft lighting and natural landscapes infiltrated by human detritus.

Harold and Maude is a memorable film of contradictions: Ruth Gordon’s and Bud Cort’s performances make their characters feel real amidst a series of unlikely exploits, and the film’s quirky dark humor invites us to celebrate life.

Are you interested in “just” seeing this movie? Visit the public screening page here.

Cinema Classics Seminars offer an entertaining and engaging way to learn more about some of the true classics of world cinema. All students receive an introductory lecture before the film and a guided discussion after the film. In addition, those in attendance receive a ticket to see it on the big screen, as well as popcorn and a drink. Please note: the screening associated with this seminar will be open to the public, as well.

If you are unable to attend this seminar on site, you can rent and stream it in our Remote Classroom beginning a week after the event date.

Please email BMFI Programs and Education Coordinator Jill Malcolm with any questions.


Course Information

$25 for members, $35 for non-members


  • Wednesday, April 19 · 6:30 pm

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