DVD: 1 (US, CA)
June 12, 1012
Comedy Dark Humor
DVD: 1 (US, Canada...)
Harold and Maude
DVD Edition Year
More about this item
Harold and Maude
Criterion Collection DVD Widescreen Edition
Now permanently out of production.
Available here Brand New & Factory Sealed.
Criterion | 1971 | Unedited Version | Rated PG | Jun 12, 2012
Harold and Maude ( DVD )
New digital restoration
Aspect ratio: 1.85:1
Original aspect ratio: 1.85:1
English: Remastered Stereo Soundtrack (Dolby Digital)
[The Blu-ray version does not have the Dolby Digital logo.]
DVD: Region 1: The United States & U.S. territories; Canada.
With the idiosyncratic American fable HAROLD AND MAUDE, countercultural director Hal Ashby (BEING THERE) fashioned what would become the cult classic of its era. Working from a script by Colin Higgins (9 TO 5), Ashby tells the story of the emotional and romantic bond between a death-obsessed young man (THE LIFE AQUATIC WITH STEVE ZISSOUS, Bud Cort) from a wealthy family and a devil-may-care, bohemian octogenarian (ROSEMARY'S BABY, Ruth Gordon). Equal parts gallows humor and romantic innocence, HAROLD AND MAUDE dissolves the line between darkness and light along with the ones that separate people by class, gender, and age, and it features indelible performances and a remarkable soundtrack by Cat Stevens.
Young, rich, and obsessed with death, Harold finds himself changed forever when he meets lively septuagenarian Maude at a funeral.
Presented in its original Widescreen aspect ratio of 1.85:1, Hal Ashby's Harold and Maude arrives on DVD courtesy of Criterion.
This new digital transfer was created on a SCANITY film scanner from a 35mm interpositive, which had to be wetgated from the original negative since it was severely scratched and not suitable for scanning. Colorist Sheri Eisenberg, who worked on a previous transfer of the film with the late director of photography John Alonzo, referenced Alonzo's original notes and the previous telecine to generate this version. Thousands of instances of dirt, debris, splices, warps, jitter, and flicker were manually removed using MTI's DRS and Image Systems' Phoenix, while jitter and flicker were fixed using Pixel Farm's PFClean.
The high-definition transfer has wonderful organic qualities. Detail and clarity are consistently pleasing, while contrast levels remain stable. Naturally, both the close-ups and panoramic scenes convey very good depth. The film's color scheme favors soft and earthy colors that look notably healthier than they do on the old DVD release Paramount Pictures issued quite some time ago. There are absolutely no traces of post-production sharpening. Problematic degraining corrections have not been performed either. Unsurprisingly, a layer of light and well-resolved grain has been retained. When projected, the film looks tight and stable around the edges. Lastly, there are no artifacts or serious banding issues to report in this review. All in all, Criterion's DVD release represents a strong upgrade in terms of visual quality.
There are two audio tracks on this DVD: English Mono and English optional Remastered Stereo Soundtrack. For the record, Criterion has provided optional English SDH subtitles for the main feature.
I had a difficult time choosing between the original Mono and Stereo tracks Criterion has included. I lean towards the Stereo track, but only because I really enjoyed listening to Cat Stevens' songs. In terms of dynamic progression, the two lossless tracks are quite similar, with the Stereo track opening up the film in selected areas--particularly when the original soundtrack music plays. The Mono track adds a stronger period feel to the film. The dialog is equally stable, clean, and easy to follow on both tracks. For the record, there are no distortions or audio dropouts to report.
New digital restoration
Optional Remastered Stereo Soundtrack
New audio commentary by Hal Ashby biographer Nick Dawson and producer Charles B. Mulvehill
Illustrated audio excerpts from seminars by Ashby and writer-producer Colin Higgins
New interview with songwriter Yusuf/Cat Stevens
English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
PLUS: An essay by film critic Matt Zoller Seitz
New cover by Jordan Crane
This is the Criterion Collection DVD with the new Digital Restoration and Remastered Stereo Soundtrack. It has the new audio commentary by Hal Ashby biographer Nick Dawson and producer Charles B. Mulvehill. It also includes illustrated audio excerpts from seminars by Hal Ashby and writer/producer Colin Higgins. Plus a new interview with singer/songwriter Yusuf/Cat Stevens, and an essay by film critic Matt Zoller Seitz. The only differences between the Blu-ray and the DVD special edition features are that the Blu-ray has two excerpted interviews and a NYT profile of Ruth Gordon.
Note: Additional content can be found on YouTube of Bud Cort being interviewed by Roseanne on her show (the entire episode) and a video of Cort leading a sing-along of "If You Want To Sing Out, Sing Out" at a Harold and Maude screening at the Drafthouse. Also on YouTube: A couple of lengthy interviews with Ruth Gordon--one with Dick Cavett, where Gordon joins Cavett and Woody Allen; Gordon is also featured in an episode of "This Is Your Life".
The Criterion Collection is known for its restorations; audio enhancement; special features: commentary tracks; use of original aspect ratios, and original artwork packaging. This Special DVD Edition of Harold and Maude is digitally restored; features a remastered Stereo soundtrack; includes the audio seminar excerpts from director Hal Ashby and writer Colin Higgins, and a new Cat Stevens interview. It is in its original Widescreen format; includes the essay by film critic Matt Zoller; and Criterion's original artwork packaging. It is also in Dolby Digital sound--a feature not included on the Blu-ray.