Harold and Maude script
Synopsis: Harold and Maude is a 1971 American romantic dark comedy drama directed by Hal Ashby and released by Paramount Pictures. It incorporates elements of dark humor and existentialist drama, with a plot that revolves around the exploits of a young man named Harold (played by Bud Cort) intrigued with death. Harold drifts away from the life that his detached mother (Vivian Pickles) prescribes for him, and slowly develops a strong friendship, and eventually a romantic relationship, with a 79-year-old woman named Maude (Ruth Gordon) who teaches Harold about living life to its fullest and that life is the most precious gift of all.

FADE IN:

1INT. THE CHASEN'S DEN - DAY

The CAMERA is at floor level. A young man enters but we

see only his shoes and the cuffs of his pants. We TRACK

with him as he walks across the room and stops at a record

player. Pause. We HEAR a record drop and begin playing

a light classical melody. The SUPERIMPOSED TITLES BEGIN.

After a moment the feet move off and we TRACK with them,

past a low table, and around a couch to the window curtains.

The feet pause there for a moment. A piece of heavy

window cord drops INTO FRAME. We FOLLOW as it is dragged

along to the low table. Then the feet move over to a large

ornate desk. The cord is pulled up OUT OF FRAME. Pause.

The feet walk over to a chair by the wall. It is picked

up, carried to the center of the room, and carefully

placed. Pause. The feet get up onto the chair and the

CAMERA RISES to their level. They shuffle about for a

moment. At an appropriate musical break the CREDITS STOP.

Suddenly the feet knock over the chair and drop into

space. They kick about for a bit, then go slack and still.

The FINAL CREDITS are SUPERED OVER the suspended appendages

while the music comes to a lilting conclusion. As we HEAR

the record player turn itself off, the CAMERA BEGINS a

half circle tour around the hanging feet and stops at the

heels. Pause. Outside we HEAR a woman's footsteps

approaching and we change focus as the door to the den

opens. Through the blurred hanging feet we see a tall,

middle-aged, fashionably dressed woman enter and we PAN

with her as she walks to the desk. This is MRS. CHASEN.

She seems rather tired and preoccupied as she begins to

remove her long white gloves. Slowly the CAMERA BEGINS a

vertical rise up the side of the hanging corpse until we

are watching Mrs. Chasen over his left shoulder. The rope

and his stretched neck frame the right side of the SCREEN.

We hold. Mrs. Chasen puts down her gloves and looks up.

(NOTE:
THE ABOVE IS ALL ONE CONTINUOUS SHOT.)

CUT TO:

2INT. DEN - DAY

CLOSEUP of Mrs. Chasen as she first sees the body. She is

slightly startled.

3INT. DEN - MRS. CHASEN'S POV - DAY

A long shot of the room where HAROLD, a young man of about

twenty, hangs suspended from the ceiling with the curtain

rope tied about his grotesquely broken neck.

4INT. DEN - MEDIUM SHOT - MRS. CHASEN - DAY

She stares at the body for several beats and then with

weary exasperation sits down at the desk and dials the

telephone. As she waits for an answer, she looks up at the

hanging body.

MRS. CHASEN

I suppose you think this is very

funny, Harold.

5CLOSEUP HAROLD

The rope chokes his throat; his eyes bulge; his tongue

hangs out.

6MED. SHOT - MRS. CHASEN

Her party answers and she speaks into the phone.

MRS. CHASEN

Hello. Fay, darling. Be a dear

and cancel my appointment with

Rene this afternoon. Yes, I know

he'll be furious, but I've had

the most trying day, and with

guests coming this evening...

Would you? Oh, that's sweet.

Tell him I promise to be in

Tuesday... for a rinse. Thank

you, Fay. You're a darling. Yes.

Yes. Bye.

She replaces the receiver, stands up, takes her purse and

gloves, and leaves the room, saying:

MRS. CHASEN

Dinner at eight, Harold...

At the door she stops and turns.

MRS. CHASEN

... And try to be a little more

vivacious.

7CLOSEUP HAROLD

Quick cut of his ashen face as we HEAR the door close.

8INT. DINING ROOM - NIGHT

Mrs. Chasen is seated at the head of the table entertaining

eight to ten guests.

They are all in evening clothes and are laughing as Mrs.

Chasen in a dress of white ostrich feathers continues a

witty story.

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Colin Higgins

Colin Higgins (28 July 1941 – 5 August 1988) was an Australian-American screenwriter, actor, director, and producer. He was best known for writing the screenplay for the 1971 film Harold and Maude, and for directing the films Foul Play (1978) and 9 to 5 (1980). He is not to be confused with a British actor of the same name who is known to Star Wars trivia buffs as "Fake Wedge" and who died in December 2012. more…

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"Harold and Maude" Scripts.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2017. Web. 15 Dec. 2017. <http://www.scripts.com/script/harold_and_maude_870>.

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