Happy Birthday, Hal Ashby!

Hal Ashby Directing Harold and Maude

The cuddliest of the New American Cinema auteurs of the seventies was born on this day in 1929. Hal Ashby’s output from that decade never loses its ability to astonish; bookended by two of the era’s great social-minded comedies, The Landlord (1970) and Being There (1979), in between it makes one remarkable cinematic statement after another: Harold and Maude (1971), The Last Detail (1973), Shampoo (1975), Bound for Glory (1976), and Coming Home (1978). We dig this photo we dug up of Ashby (who died in 1988) behind the scenes with Maude herself, Ruth Gordon.

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