Editorial Review of The Harold Lloyd Collection (Slapstick Symposium), courtesy of Amazon.com
This collection of vintage Harold Lloyd comedies is worth the price just for Grandma’s Boy, a splendid hour-long feature from 1922. Lloyd plays a small-town fellow who lives with his frisky grandmother; convinced of his own cowardice, he yearns to compete for the hand of a pretty girl. His courtly call to the girl’s home is the occasion for battle with a ridiculous ‘formal’ suit, mothballs, and a litter of kittens attracted by the goose grease on his shoes. There’s also a long (and quite funny) flashback to Lloyd’s ancestor, tangled in a Civil War fracas. Lloyd, whose aquiline features were rounded off by horn-rimmed glasses, was more handsome and less clownish than many of his slapstick brethren, which made his acrobatic outbursts all the more surprising. That talent is well-displayed in the seven short (mostly between 20-25 minutes) films on this DVD, including Number, Please, which climaxes with a brilliant sequence involving a stolen purse, and His Royal Slyness, which also offers a look at Lloyd’s brother Gaylord. —Robert Horton
Product Description of The Harold Lloyd Collection (Slapstick Symposium)
A standout contributor to the art of silent film comedy, Harold Lloyd (1893-1971) offers new generations a body of film work that is as fresh and entertaining as in its day. His roots were simple–born in rural Nebraska, product of a broken home, and initially destined for the legitimate stage–yet by the 1920s, Lloyd was both at the box office and in the polls, the most popular comic actor in the world.
His appeal was simple: through his Glass Character, which formed the basis of roles from 1917-1947, Lloyd was able to reach audiences as no contemporary could. He is regarded as the man who most greatly influenced eyeglass-wearing in America, and this single facet of Lloyd inspired youth worldwide. His screen normalcy–in look and demeanor–allowed moviegoers to relate to the Glass Character no matter how rich, poor, cowardly or flip he was. Included in this Kino collection are the feature Grandma’ Boy (1922), plus the shorts Bumping Into Broadway (1919), An Eastern Westerner (1920), His Royal Slyness (1921), Just Neighbors (1919), I Do (1918), and Number Please (1920).
Grandma’s Boy – 1922
One of Lloyd’s personal favorites of his films, Grandma’s Boy is a beautiful tale of self-discovery, with a bounty of comic overtones. Sonny is a self-professed coward, who balks at the sight of the town tramp (Dick Sutherland). Armed with a lucky charm given to him by his grandmother (Anna Townsend), he defeats the tramp and the town bully (Charles Stevenson), learning a very valuable lesson about himself in the process.
And among the many short films are:
Bumping Into Broadway – 1919
Harold Lloyd’s first Glass Character two-reeler, Bumping Into Broadway stars Lloyd and Daniels as theatrical hopefuls – he as a playwright, she as a chorus girl. The action is fierce, as Harold attempts to save Bebe from a wicked society chap, and gets into lots of trouble in the process. Look for Our Gang favorite Gus Leonard in a most unique cameo: as a love-starved woman!
An Eastern Westerner – 1920
Rural comedy abounds in this romp, as young upstart Harold is shipped to his uncle’s ranch out West. There, he meets Mildred, assists her in staving off the unwanted affections of rogue Young, and after a wild altercation with a gang of bandits, single-handedly saves the town from the Masked Angels.
His Royal Slyness – 1920
A special opportunity to see the Lloyd brothers – Harold and Gaylord – work together. Harold, a book agent, bears an uncanny resemblance to the Prince of Razzamatazz (Gaylord) – the two switch persons, and Harold travels to Thermosa, where he falls in love with a princess (Davis), and manages to lead the peasants’ revolution to victory. His Royal Slyness marks Pollard’s final film with Lloyd.
Just Neighbors – 1919
Domesticity turns to squabble-city, as the tranquil friendship of neighbors Lloyd and Pollard turns sour when Snub’s chickens get loose in Bebe’s garden. The barbs are fast and furious until peace is restored when Harold’s dog saves Snub’s daughter from traffic. A rare film in which Lloyd took co-directorial credit, Motion Picture News called Just Neighbors … “as clever a skit on suburban life as ever was fashioned.”