Nineteen-year-old Harold Chasen is obsessed with death. He fakes suicides to shock his self-obsessed mother, drives a hearse, and attends funerals of complete strangers. Seventy-nine-year-old Maude Chardin, on the other hand, adores life. She liberates trees from city sidewalks and transplants them to the forest, paints smiles on the faces of church statues, and "borrows" cars to remind their owners that life is fleeting—here today, gone tomorrow! A chance meeting between the two turns into a madcap, whirlwind romance, and Harold learns that life is worth living, and how to play the banjo. Harold and Maude started as Colin Higgins's master's thesis at UCLA Film School. He was working as a pool boy when Paramount purchased the script. The 1971 film, directed by Hal Ashby, bombed. But then this quirky, dark comedy began being shown on college campuses and at midnight-movie theaters, and it gained a loyal cult following. In 1997 it was selected for inclusion on the National Film Registry at the Library of Congress. This novelization was published shortly after the film's release, but has been out of print for more than 30 years. Even fans who have seen the movie dozens of times will find this companion valuable, as it gives fresh elements to watch for and answers many of the film's unresolved questions. Colin Higgins was a screenwriter, director, and producer of films that included Harold and Maude, Silver Streak, 9 to 5, and The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas. He died in 1988.
She insists I hold on to your draft records, but if it were up to me I'd process your
file and have you shipped off to basic tomorrow. Believe me—you'd have a grand
time. ... He stopped before a portrait of Nathan Hale with a 13 harold and maude.