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Harold and Maude
Harold and Maude This motion picture,
 when it was first made public in 1971,
 didn't do well on the road.
 It was on theaters in Japan for a short time.
 A Japanese record company was happy with the
 songs by Cat Stevens used in the moving picture,
 so an LP record was made, only in Japan.

After that,
Harold and Maude went away and
most of us were no more interested in the movie.
But some who saw it, however,
were in love with it.
They said it was their best movie ever!

They have kept saying so.
There are a number of online pages about the movie.
The story was made into a song-play and
produced in the United States.
It was made into a work for public reading and
produced onstage in Japan.

Is the movie so good?
It is hard to make certain because there is
no DVD or VHS of the movie produced in Japan.
But you may get a used VHS from overseas.

I got a DVD of this movie.
So I will give an outline:

A young man with no lights in his great eyes,
at the opening of this movie,
puts a ring of cord round his neck and
makes himself hanging on the cord,
an act of putting himself to death!
You may be shocked at it,
and may be more shocked at a
woman coming in and
giving no sign of surprise.
You will quickly see that
he is only tricking her by staging the act.
The base color of this movie is black humor.

Harold, the young man living with his mother in a great house,
does this sort of act, putting himself, as if, to death,
every day, in front of her.
The act, however,
is a false one, to get her attention.
She never takes it seriously.
She has a belief that
he will be all right if he gets married
or if he goes to the military.

His interest in death, however, seems true.
He has a black automobile
specially made to take a dead person to the
place where the dead is put in the earth,
under a stone with the name on it.
He gets dressed in black,
and takes the machine to a funeral,
the Christian meeting in which a
churchman, friends and the family of the dead one
give words of parting to the dead.

At those funerals,
he frequently sees a strange old woman,
who is talking like a British.
Like him, she is acting as if she were a
friend of the dead one.
Upon her strong request,
he has a tea with her,
and to keep himself away from arguments,
he comes back to her flat, over and over.
She is from Europe,
going to be 80 years old in the coming week.
She has a French name but
generally goes by the name of "Maude."

Maude's strange acts,
like painting smiles on faces in the picture on a wall in a church,
have their reasons,
like they are in need of smiles.
Her acts and reasonings go against common beliefs,
but being with her makes him happy and interested.

Was she a music teacher?
She keeps a number of instruments.
She gives him one named banjo,
and gives him hands-on knowledge of
how to make music on it.
In addition to that,
she gives voice to a song to
make him see the idea of
living every day to its fullest.
Harold gets interested in her.

We are not certain if he gets knowledge of her past,
but through her talk and giving attention to details,
like the black sign on her arm,
we slowly come to see that
she was in Austria,
working with a secret organization against the Nazis.

Though Harold's mother makes him have meetings with a number of young women,
he never gets interested in them and
more and more in love with Maude.
The two are very happy with one another.
The middle part of this movie goes as a
sweet love story.

Harold makes up his mind that he will,
on her 80th birthday,
give her a request to be married with him.
Maude, on the other hand,
has her secret blueprint that
she will, on the same day, put herself to death.

Her word gives him a great shock.
Near the end of this motion picture,
we see his automobile go on the dirt road
up the slope,
over the edge of a high wall of stone,
in the air, and then,
down to the stone floor by the sea,
crushed, turned upside down and on fire.

Is he dead?
If you are interested,
see the DVD, the VHS,
or the play for the motion picture.
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