The Freshman, starring Harold Lloyd

movie review of  The Freshman  (1925) starring Harold Lloyd

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In  The Freshman,  Harold Lloyd plays the role of Harold (Speedy) Lamb, a starry-eyed college freshman, who’s been dreaming of becoming a “big man on campus”, imitating his college football player idol all the way down to imitating a (silly) jig that he does before shaking someone’s hand.   Once he’s at college, his over-eagerness makes him an object of ridicule by many, but his determination compensates.  For example,  Harold Lloyd thinks he’s made the college football team, when at first the coach is simply using him as a tackling dummy  (a very funny scene), and later as the waterboy.

Another funny scene is when he attends a  dance where his tuxedo is falling apart, and his tailor is trying to surreptitiously repair it – in between dizzy spells.   There’s the requisite romantic interest, whose honor he defends at the expense of finding out what his “friends” think of him; but even that doesn’t deter him, and in a  very  funny finale,  the water boy saves the day when every other reserve player is injured … and he gets up off the stretcher that he’s being carried out on to win the day.

The Freshman  is a very good comedy, with sizable doses of slapstick and character, and I recommend watching it.

Trivia for  The Freshman  starring Harold Lloyd

  • The football scenes were shot at Memorial Stadium in Berkeley, California between the first and second quarters of the East-West game of 1924-25. The stadium had just completed construction the year before.
  • Some of the football scenes were reused by Preston Sturges in his 1947 film The Sin of Harold Diddlebock (1947).
  • This film was selected to the National Film Registry, Library of Congress, in 1990.
  • Harold Lloyd originally began production with the football scenes, filming at the Rose Bowl. However, he couldn’t achieve the right tone for these final scenes, and he decided to start over again and shoot the film in sequence.
  • Football players from USC played members of the opposing and home football teams
  • The train station where Harold Lloyd got off for college was in Culver City, near Los Angeles.
  • Harold Lloyd was 31 when he shot this movie. He had always wanted to make a football movie but never had the opportunity. When this film was in development, he thought it would be a bad idea to have him in it, because he was too old.
  • This movie was shot in sequence, which was rare for a Harold Lloyd movie. Lloyd usually thought up comic setpieces and based his stories around them. In this instance, he felt it was a more character-driven story and he would have to get into the character by shooting it in order.
  • Debut of Grady Sutton.
  • In 2002, Harold Lloyd Entertainment released a 76-minute version with music composed, arranged and conducted by Robert Israel and played by The Robert Israel Orchestra and The Moravian Philharmonic Orchestra.
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