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Harold Lloyd

Discussion in 'The Moving Picture' started by Edward, Aug 17, 2007.

  1. When I was about six years old - around 1980 - I watched a lot of old Harold Lloyd movies on the television. The ones I saw first, though, were not the original silent versions. Rather, they had the dialogue boards removed, and a voiceover track that narrated the entire story which I seem to remember was very amusing.... anyone know if these are available? I'd love to see them again.
  2. Amy Jeanne

    Amy Jeanne Call Me a Cab

    I haven't seen it in a while, but I think Harold Lloyd's World Of Comedy has voiceovers over his silent movies (could be wrong, though, it's been a while!) It used to pop up on TCM in the US every now and again. I recorded it from there, but I don't know if it's available commercially.
  3. Thanks. :) I know a lot of the purists really didn't care for the voiceovers, but I seem to remember them being an enjoyable addition, albeit perhaps noe that reinterpreted the original films somewhat. :)
  4. The film Amy Jeanne mentioned is one of Robert Youngson's compilations - he had a brief success with a flurry of these recut silent comedies in around 1960. They're okay, but personally, I prefer watching the originals whenever possible.

    I adore Harold Lloyd's work. He may not be at the same genius-observer-of-the-human-condition level as Chaplin or Keaton, but his films are carefully constructed laugh machines that offer a fantastic window into 1920s America.

    I bought a bunch of Super 8 Blackhawk prints of his films back in my early film collecting days (His Royal Slyness, Haunted Spooks, Never Weaken, Girl Shy, etc.), and when he approved the Time-Life releases of nearly his entire output in 1977 or so, I saw a bunch theatrically in NYC. (Lloyd's films were scientifically recut after audience previews to retime the gags/laughs precisely, and they are definitely funnier when viewed with a large audience.) And I've got a bunch taped off of AMC (back when it was a good channel!) and TCM too...

    He was a fascinating guy, a walking Horatio Alger hero who threw himself into anything that interested him and with just hard work, ended up mega-successful. This is true of his hobbies (notably stereo photography) and his charitable work as well as his comedies. (It's worth noting that by the 1950s, Chaplin was in exile, denied a return visa by the US government as a suspected communist, and Keaton was a broke, recovering alcoholic working for peanuts in TV and circuses, but Lloyd still lived in his enormous mansion and got an honorary Oscar for being a "good citizen"!)

    "I'm just a regular fella. Step right up and call me Speedy!"
  5. I saw a documentary about ten years ago at Christmas with Lloyd being interviewed in his fifties - he seemed like a really nice guy. What was done to Chaplin was disgraceful, but that's another issue for another day.
  6. Smyat

    Smyat One of the Regulars

    My grasp of the details is poor this morning (not enough coffee yet, and haven't rummaged Chaplin memories lately) but I do recall that it was more than simple '50s red hysteria working against him.

    Back to Lloyd, though - the almost forgotten genius. My wife bought me the recent DVD collection with the notion that I'd end up watching the "boring old stuff" alone, or force people to watch them with me.

    Not only are they popular picks for family watching, my two 7yos absolutely adore them. It often becomes a game to spot Lloyd's rubber hand. :rolleyes:
  7. It was mostly red hysteria, but his long history of supporting leftist/liberal causes, of "suspiciously" never having become a US citizen after living in the US for 40 years, his ugly history of affairs with underage women and paternity suits, his avowed "citizen of the world" stance, his having long been a darling of "dangerous" European intellectuals and philosophers, etc., had all hurt him. He had made a lot of enemies in and out of Hollywood, and at that moment, they were riding high.

    But even with understanding how it happened, it was still INCREDIBLY disgraceful!

  8. Yeah, well. So much for freedom of speech and expression, eh? ;)

    I do remember reading a bit about him and being, eh, somewhat shocked by his predilection for the younger lady. I can see that being a problem nowadays, though I don't think there were ever criminal charges a la Polanski? That is the side to chaplin I would have issues with... maybe I'm too much the bed wetting liberal myself, but to me sexual crimes, especially paedophilia, are far and away a worse category than pretty much anything else short of murder.


    I wonder how many people stick with resident alien status in the US? Without wanting to get into politics, some of what acquiring US Citizenship would involve is a little culturally alien to me (pledge of allegiance, hand on heart, saluting the flag and all that), though that owes as much to my own origins in a place where the sinister side of that sort of thing was very much in evidence as it does anything else. I imagine citizenship brings much more considerable rights with it - including voting rights, yes?
  9. Edward - Even though I've read all the major Chaplin biographies, I just looked at the Wiki article to refresh my memory. Chaplin's thing was for women much younger than himself - e.g., 16, 18, 19 when he was in his 30s through 50s - but aside from one early case, they were never underage. So it wasn't a child sex thing, per se. The generally accepted theory is that he was powerfully drawn to the innocence of youth because his own "Dickensian" childhood had been so painful...

    Anyway, sorry to hijack this thread away from Harold Lloyd, who very much deserves it!

    (Oh, and to make a correction to what I said above: Lloyd did his own two feature complations of great sequences from his films in response to the success of Robert Youngson's films. Unlike the other silent comedians, Lloyd was also a smart businessman and had retained the rights to his films.)
  10. Flivver

    Flivver Practically Family

    I became a big Harold Lloyd fan when PBS broadcast the Time-Life versions of some of his films in the late 1970s. Unfortunately, DVD versions of his feature length films weren't available until late 2005 when the Harild Lloyd Comedy Collection was released by the Harold Lloyd Trust.

    It was certainly worth the wait! All of the feature length films are there accompanied by a number of Lloyd's shorts, home movies and other special features. This set is a great value for the Lloyd fan.

    I particularly like Harold Lloyd's films because they provide a good look at everyday life in the 1920s. And the chase scenes, filmed on the streets of Los Angeles are the best part of all. I can watch the out of control bus chase from "For Heaven's Sake" (1926) over and over, without tiring of it. An actual 1925 double deck Fageol Safety Coach from the Los Angeles Street Railway was used to film this bit!
  11. I love to watch Harold's film Speedy for the same reasons. Most of the movie was shot on location in the streets of New York city. The chase scenes especially provide some lovely eye candy in the background. They also film on location at Coney Island. It's like looking through a portal to 1920s New York.
  12. Smyat

    Smyat One of the Regulars

    I think the majority of Lloyd's films were shot in and near LA. Speedy is indeed credited to Brooklyn and Coney Island, but (without paging through IMDb and relying on memory of prior lookups) I think it's a rarity. Lloyd and Roach learned early that LA can be made to sub for almost anywhere if you aren't fussy about details (like the famous Port of LA sign in Maltese Falcon...)

    I do get tired of seeing LA, Montreal and Vancouver passed off as other cities, though, even when the makers do sweat the details.

    Then again, my California hometown is often passed off as midwestern cities in the cinema. Not sure what to make of that. :)
  13. Of all the silent comedians, I think Lloyd loses the most by not being seen in a real theatre environment with a live score and a full audience. We ran "The Kid Brother" last fall -- a brand new 35mm print and a live performance of an original piano score -- and gags I'd seen on DVD and smiled at were amplified into full-scale laughs simply by the enthusiasm of the audience. Lloyd understood this principle better, perhaps, than any other filmmaker of his day, and timed his films to specifically account for it. I think it's safe to say you haven't *really* seen Lloyd until you've seen him on the big screen -- and when you do, it's an experience you'll never forget. There's good reason why he was the most popular screen comic of the '20s!
  14. Flivver

    Flivver Practically Family

    I certainly wish there was a theatre in my area that ran silent and early sound movies. I can only immagine what those Lloyd chase scenes must be like on the big screen!
  15. My wife and I were lucky to catch a big screen showing of Safety Last with live piano accompaniment at the art museum in Toronto. The place was sold out and people guffawed from begining to end. Most films today I can watch at home and it is not much different than being in a theater (except no annoying teen on their cell phones) but it is very different with the silents.

    :eek:fftopic: by actor - you may be interested in these two books which you can get on Amazon. I have the Keaton one and it's fantastic.

    Silent Traces: Discovering Early Hollywood through the Films of Charlie Chaplin by John Bengtson (Author)

    Silent Echoes: Discovering Early Hollywood Through the Films of Buster Keaton by John Bengtson

    He uses real photos and maps from today and yesteryear to pinpoint where Chaplin and Keaton shot in California. Amazing to see what has changed and what hasen't.
  16. Ah, my mistake - in that light, i would like to retract and apologise for the misunderstanding in my post above in relation to Chaplain. 16 and upwards is fine in the UK (how does the law on age of consent sit in the US these days - is it 18 all over, or does that vary by state?) as far as the legal age of consent goes. It's considered highly distasteful, of course, but it's not against the law.

    (Oh, and to make a correction to what I said above: Lloyd did his own two feature complations of great sequences from his films in response to the success of Robert Youngson's films. Unlike the other silent comedians, Lloyd was also a smart businessman and had retained the rights to his films.)[/QUOTE]

    Defintely a smart man, Lloyd - and ahead of his time in that respect, I think.

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