Director: Hal Ashby
Cast: Ruth Gordon, Bud Cort, Vivian Pickles
Release Date: December 7, 2021
A Review By: Kevin Lovell
Disc Rating: 7/10
Director Hal Ashby’s coming-of-age comedy, based on a screenplay by Colin Higgins, celebrates 50 years in this beautifully restored and remastered Blu-ray from Paramount Presents. In this essential cult-classic, Howard is a death-obsessed teen (Bud Cort) who falls for Maude (Oscar winner Ruth Gordon), a happy-go-lucky, eccentric 79-year-old. To a lilting Yusuf/Cat Stevens soundtrack, Maude teaches Harold a valuable lesson about making the most of his time on Earth.
Please Note: Paramount Home Entertainment provided me with a free copy of the Blu-ray I reviewed in this Post. The opinions I share are my own.
You can also check out our reviews for the other releases in the ‘Paramount Presents’ Blu-ray line by clicking on each title below!
The beloved classic ‘Harold and Maude’ tells the story of a death-obsessed teen named Harold who delights in crafting fake suicide scenes starring himself for his family to come across and spends his free time attending random funerals. With little connection to others his age or the world in general, Harold randomly befriends a 79 year old woman named Maude who shares his love of funerals and the two quickly become close due to their shared love of funerals and other things that many might consider odd. As Harold finally lets himself connect with someone, he soon starts having conflicting feelings about whether this is a friendship or true love.
The odd yet endearing off-beat 1971 comedy ‘Harold and Maude’ arrives back on Blu-ray newly remastered as the twenty-ninth title in the wonderful Limited Edition ‘Paramount Presents’ Blu-ray line which showcases various noteworthy films from Paramount’s expansive decades-spanning catalog with each sporting newly remastered high definition video presentations paired with solid high definition soundtracks, extras and collectible packaging. ‘Harold and Maude’ makes a perfect addition to the line and this touching and humorously off-beat tale still delivers the goods fifty years after its initial release, providing a beautifully acted story with a wonderful soundtrack and no shortage of unforgettable moments that are almost guaranteed to tug on your heartstrings. Directed by Hal Ashby, written by Colin Higgins and featuring a well selected cast led by Ruth Gordon and Bud Cort, ‘Harold and Maude’ has definitely shown itself capable of standing against the test of time in most respects and hopefully will find its way into the hearts of future generations to come. This new ‘Paramount Presents’ Blu-ray release of the 1971 cult classic also delivers splendidly itself, serving up a gorgeous new high definition video presentation paired with a solid multichannel Dolby TrueHD soundtrack, extras and more.
Overall, the ‘Paramount Presents’ Blu-ray release of the 1971 cult classic ‘Harold and Maude’ brings the film back to Blu-ray featuring a quite magnificent and source faithful new high definition video presentation of the film that’s only complemented by a nice new 5.1 Dolby TrueHD soundtrack. Add to that a couple of notable new extras and the standard collectible packaging featured on all of the Limited Edition ‘Paramount Presents’ Blu-ray releases and the end result is a wonderful and carefully constructed new Blu-ray release of the beloved classic that longtime fans should appreciate. Fans who don’t already own this one on Blu-ray may want to finally add it to their collection, while many who already do may still want to look into this new release for the great new transfer alone. If you’re already considering a purchase of this one, it’s definitely recommended.
The ‘Paramount Presents’ Blu-ray release of ‘Harold and Maude’ features a full 1080p High Definition presentation of the film with its original 1.85:1 Aspect Ratio, with a new 4K scan from the original negative. While the actual case doesn’t mention any details on the transfer or its source, the below quote was included in the original announcement for the release:
“For the restoration, the original negative was scanned in 4K and careful color correction and cleanup were undertaken to pay homage to director of photography John Alonzo’s memorable work and honor the look of the film”
This newly remastered high definition video presentation looks great as a whole and delivers a clean, sharp and source faithful presentation from start to finish that never suffers from any unexpected troubles along the way. It holds up beautifully throughout and retains a nice grain structure and other welcome artifacts representative of its film source that add up to offer a rewarding presentation that fans of the film and its original look should thoroughly appreciate. Overall, this is a great high definition video presentation that should easily thrill dedicated fans of this classic.
The Blu-ray release features a 5.1 channel Dolby TrueHD soundtrack. The below details were again provided in the original announcement for the release regarding the audio presentation:
“The incredible soundtrack was completely remixed using recently discovered tracks to add clarity and depth.”
This multichannel soundtrack also does its job remarkably well, offering a clean and crisp audio presentation throughout that never suffers from any hiccups or faults. While it is a multichannel soundtrack, the audio presentation keeps the majority of the activity largely centered but still delivers every auditory aspect from the dialogue to the music and other elements with clean, smooth and fully audible near precision that leaves little to be desired. Overall, this is a highly capable 5.1 Dolby TrueHD soundtrack that more than holds up in every necessary way and should not disappoint.
The ‘Paramount Presents’ Blu-ray release of ‘Harold and Maude’ features the usual collectible packaging included on each of the ‘Paramount Presents’ releases, complete with a slipcase that unfolds to display a larger version of the film’s original artwork, plus photos and a quote on the interior of the Blu-ray’s case insert (as always you can view a beauty shot image at the bottom of this review for a look at what you can expect inside). The disc itself also features a couple of nice, new extras including an ‘Audio Commentary by Larry Karaszewski and Cameron Crowe’, along with ‘Yusuf/Cat Stevens on Harold and Maude’ (running approximately 6 minutes in length). ‘2 Theatrical Trailers’ for the movie (running approximately 3 minutes apiece) are also included.
*Please note that the above images are taken from the Blu-Ray and resized. They will additionally suffer quality loss as a result of .jpg compression. Larger versions of each image can be viewed by clicking on the image. All images and content included on this Blu-Ray release are the property of their respective owners.
Disc Rating: 7/10
‘Harold And Maude’ is Now Available to Own on Blu-ray; Newly Remastered as part of the ‘Paramount Presents’ Blu-ray line from Paramount Home Entertainment
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