Hooray for Hal Ashby. Underrated in a big way, Ashby is one of the most interesting American filmmakers of the 70s; while his later work didn't match up with his best stuff, The Last Detail, Shampoo, Being There and Coming Home are masterpieces. And then of course there's Harold and Maude, his most famous film - which is getting the Criterion Collection treatment.
The movie will be released on DVD and Blu in April, and will contain commentary by Hal Ashby biographer Nick Dawson and producer Charles B. Mulvehill, a new interview with the man formerly known as Cat Stevens, audio seminars given by Ashby, and a booklet with essays and interviews. I love the cover, created by comic artist Jordan Crane.
Harold and Maude, of course, is the story of a young man obsessed with death and the relationship he sparks up with an old lady. The film was a flop on release, as is the case with many of the great movies. A couple of weeks ago I had breakfast two tables away from star Bud Cort, which was one of my favorite Hollywood moments ever (I had actually met him at the premiere party for The Life Aquatic, but there's no way he would remember me, so I let him eat his breakfast in peace).
What I really like is that this movie is being released in mono, as it was intended. Film fans hate when movies get CGI added years later, and colorization is dead, but the addition of stereo soundtracks to non-stereo films is seen as no big deal.