Writer-director Cameron Crowe and Variety editor Peter Bart host A Salute to Hal Ashby, honoring the "New Hollywood" director of, most famously, Harold and Maude (1971), the cult hit featuring Ruth Gordon and Bud Cort in a most extreme yet extremely endearing May-December romance. Ashby's directorial career, launched after he won a 1967 Oscar for editing In the Heat of the Night, began with 1970's The Landlordand kicked into high gear with Harold and Maude, Shampoo, The Last Detail, Coming Home and Being There, but eventually got hobbled by less well-received works from his later years, when studio bosses often considered him too unstable to complete his own projects. (The director's cut of one of these films, Ashby's 1982 Vegas caper Lookin' to Get Out, screens next week at the Hammer's Billy Wilder Theater, with Jon Voight and Curtis Hanson in person, courtesy of the UCLA Film & Television Archive.) Screening tonight is a new print of Harold and Maude from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' Film Archive, with mad props given by Judd Apatow, Diablo Cody, Bud Cort, Jon Voight and other Ashby colleagues and fans. The tribute continues through the end of June at the Linwood Dunn Theater, with screenings of The Landlordand Shampoo (June 26), The Last Detail and Coming Home (June 27), and Being There (June 28).
Thu., June 25, 2009