Hal Ashby and the Making of Harold and Maude

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SKU: 9781476663210 Categories: , , ,

About the Book

The original script was sold to a major Hollywood studio virtually overnight; the screenwriter was working as a pool boy and driver for the producer; the director was considered an “acid freak” by the studio heads; the star was a 74-year-old actress who didn’t know how to drive a car. The film flopped upon release but later became one of the great cult successes of all time. This is the fascinating, never before told story of the making of Harold and Maude, shot guerrilla-style in the San Francisco Bay Area by a crew of “New Hollywood” filmmakers in the winter of 1971.

About the Author(s)

James A. Davidson has written a number of articles for Images Film Journal and Taste of Cinema and is co-owner of Second Sight Video & Multimedia. He lives in Reno, Nevada.

Bibliographic Details

James A. Davidson
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 224
Bibliographic Info: 23 photos, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2016
pISBN: 978-1-4766-6321-0
eISBN: 978-1-4766-2385-6
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Table of Contents


Acknowledgments vii

Preface 1

Introduction 5

Cast of Filmmakers 9

1. The Chauffeur, the Pool Boy and the Screenwriter 13

2. The Harold and Maude Script 26

3. Selling the Script 39

4. The Accidental Director 50

5. The Kid Stays in the Picture 60

6. The Most Difficult Part of Making a Film 68

7. I Feel I Could Make This Film About as Funny as the Vietnam War 82

8. Bay Area Bound 90

9. The Rosecourt 105

10. The Motorcycle Cop, the Ambulance and the Railcar 118

11. Cat Stevens 133

12. Editing the Film 143

13. Dropping a Bomb and Rising from the Ashes 157

14. After Harold and Maude: Hal Ashby 168

15. After Harold and Maude: The Rest of the Cast and Crew 179

16. The Legacy of Harold and Maude 189

Chapter Notes 197

Bibliography 205

Index 207

Book Reviews & Awards

“the well-researched back story of the unlikely 1971 cult classic”—Acting Solo; “the story behind the film is engagingly told”—The Huffington Post.