Thursday, August 28, 2008

To Ruth

From Adam of Club Silencio:

"The earth is my body; my head is in the
stars. "

Of all the endearing wisdom that Maude gave to Harold during their May 1st/December 31st romance, that one seems particularly special given the anniversary of Ruth Gordon's death. She lived to the full age of 88, passing on August 28, 1985. I can't imagine there was a more hilarious woman of her generation. Someone just as likely to teach you the splendors of life as to dose your chocolate mousse... Either way it's "snips and snails and puppy dog's tails!"

There would have been a vast hole left in cinema without Ruth Gordon. We'd certainly never value life and we might even trust the elderly.

Her turn as the nosy Minnie Castevet is so completely delightful. How often can you say that about your neighbors, let alone one who's a Satanist? Her character's devious deeds would be nothing without Gordon's disarming nature. She looks like someone who'd play bridge with your grandma, and you'd kindly eat her inedible desserts. Even if she told me she was responsible for my birthing Satan's offspring, I'd just laugh and force down another slice.

And then there's Maude... Brought to charming life by Gordon, she's one of the most inspirational and life-affirming figures in cult cinema. Greeting card sentiments would wear on most audiences, but Gordon gives them a vibrancy so human that they dig right to the heart. She creates in Maude a spirited memorial to living life to the fullest, while stopping to honor death along the way.

So let's all steal a tree and transplant it in her honor. Here's to Ruth with her head in the stars.

Send her your love in the comments!


SO. said...

i completely agree with everything you just said. maude is one of my favorite characters. she was just so corky and vibrant. after watching harold and maude, she singularly changed how i viewed life and the negativity surrounding it.

i bow down to you ruth gordon, forever and always. and for always bringing originality to each and every character and inevitably turning them into cult icons.

Anonymous said...

What a WONDERFUL post! Harold and Maude is my all-time favorite movie, and when people ask why, I tell them to watch it because my explanation will not do it justice.

I also adore Rosemary's Baby, and Ruth Gordon is a big reason why. It's so sad that her career declined after the early 70's. Wasn't her last movie a women's mud wrestling movie? :-(

Anonymous said...

1st review the reader out dec 2008


i love both of those movies myself but the strangest thing to me about Ruth Gordon might be that she got her first of only 2 acting oscar nominations for a movie in which she was barely in and wasn't even the best of the supporting players in it (Inside Daisy Clover)

but she's wondrous in these two movies (Rosemary's and Harold and Maude) and it's insane that she wasn't Oscar nominated for the latter.

Janice said...

Her career as a writer goes back nearly as far as her career as an actress - she was a screenwriter for "Adams Rib" (Tracy and Hepburn).

Harold and Maude was one of my sweetie's favorite movies from back in the day (she saw it when it first came to theaters) and she played it for me 10 years ago, and I loved it as much as she did. (And how could anyone not fall in love with Maude?) Maude is such a timeless creation. It reminded me too of the dearth of roles for women over...well, over 30, in Hollywood (except for a chosen few, like Meryl.)

Anonymous said...

I just saw Action in the North Atlantic (1943). Gordon plays Raymond Massey's wife. Remarkably she looked the same, only with fewer wrinkles.

Seeing_I said...

Don't forget "Homebodies." That movie freaked me out when I was a kid!

Anonymous said...

What a wonderful tribute to this delightful actress. I adore both of these movies and her in them.

Anonymous said...

I loved her as Natalie Wood's mother in "Inside Daisy Clover" ... although the movie was way ahead of its time and bombed.

Deborah said...

My Gods, how I love her, and how I love Maude, and how endlessly I can quote her as Maude!

Thanks for the post.

Pax Romano said...

I remember when she hosted SNL back in the late 70's ... when the show was coming to an end, she thanked everyone and then said something like, "What fun, doing all of these bare-ass changes between skits".

Love ya Ruth!