Wednesday, July 4, 2012

perspectives

This morning I watched Harold and Maude. It's the third or forth time I've watched this undeniably quirky movie, the first time being in high school, when it was first released to the theaters. 

That first time, I recall focusing on the funny scenes, and also thinking that Ruth Gordon looked so very old.  She was born in 1896, so her real age was about 74 when she was in the movie, although her movie age was supposed to be 79. Now as to what I thought her true age was, well, back then I could have been guessing 60 because at that time I thought 60 was really old. 

I don't really remember what I thought about the movie during the interim one or two viewings I had of it prior to this morning. But watching it this morning, I had quite a different perspective of it than I did that first time way back in 1971. 

Ruth Gordon did look old, but not that old. She had a vibrancy about her in the movie that I appreciated upon this morning's viewing, something that didn't strike me the first time. And whereas the scenes in which she steals cars and other things, drives like a maniac and gets into mischief were merely funny back then, this time I looked up on them with the appreciation that here is someone who is really enjoying life. Yes it was unrealistically crazy, but I have to say I just admired her free spirit. 

Back in high school I would have been watching from the perspective of a kid who still had many years ahead of him - and here was just some crazy old lady hanging around with a young guy and to be doing that with such a great age difference was incomprehensible to me. 

But this morning, I was watching with the perspective of someone who is much closer to Ruth Gordon's age than Bud Cort's age - I am Maude whereas before I was Harold. And I thought about all the days that could have been that went a different way. Back in high school, all those days were still ahead of me and today they are behind me. 

Back in high school our discussion about the movie focused on the sight gags and shaking our heads on the question, could we imagine ourselves with someone that old???  It would be a very different discussion today - except that even today the scene with Harold and Maude waking up in the same bed still grosses me out.