Harold Lloyd

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charliechaplinfan
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Re: Harold Lloyd

Post by charliechaplinfan »

Ann Harding wrote:
(Charliechaplinfan, you called it Girl Crazy and I searched for that film on Lloyd's filmography before realising it was a Mickey Rooney-Judy Garland feature! :lol: )
For some reason I've had it lodged in my head and I don't know why, I've never seen Girl Crazy, Girl Shy is a much better title and description of the film. I think you should persevere just to see if it tips the scales for you. I can see Harold Lloyd is great in terms of what he does, you've hit the nail on the head, he doesn't get me like Chaplin does in The Kid or Keaton in the General.
Failure is unimportant. It takes courage to make a fool of yourself - Charlie Chaplin
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MichiganJ
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Re: Harold Lloyd

Post by MichiganJ »

Annharding:
I'm with bdp and think Girl Shy is well worth a look, even though the chase is a bit long. Since you mention The Kid, you may like Grandma's Boy, too. I'd also recommend Speedy.

bdp wrote:
The more I see of Langdon the less I am able to rate him; The Strong Man is great, Three's A Crowd is an unmitigated disaster, and the rest fall indifferently between. *shrugs*
I agree, completely. Three's a Crowd is a disaster, but what a disaster. Langdon goes all out to out-do Chaplin in the pathos that he forgets the comedy. But it is utterly fascinating and led to him making his last silent, The Chaser, a near-masterpiece (in my opinion). This dark (and occasionally naughty) film, certainly not for all tastes, is as crazy as any silent comedy I've ever seen.
Langdon is certainly an acquired taste and is also one of the riskiest of the silent clowns, including the big three, and for that alone I feel he deserves some respect.
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bdp
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Re: Harold Lloyd

Post by bdp »

Wasn't the now-lost Heart Trouble a silent?

Langdon was unique; I've been getting into some of the Allday set of his Sennett shorts, and his character and way of working are absolutely unique, but it all had to be framed properly. Many of the Sennett shorts are no different than any other Sennett shorts, even given Harry's personality.
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myrnaloyisdope
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Re: Harold Lloyd

Post by myrnaloyisdope »

Girl Shy is pretty grand stuff, highlighted by Lloyd's absurd love fantasies, and the glorious chase sequence that takes up the last part of the film. I found the chase to be absolutely dizzying as Lloyd continually switches modes of transportation ranging from train to bicycle to motorbike to horse drawn carriage. Reportedly the shots of Lloyd commandeering the carriage and subsequently 2 horses at once were influential on the chariot sequence in Ben-Hur.

I don't think anyone's mentioned Why Worry?, but that might be his funniest film (from what I've seen), as Lloyd plays a self-absorbed hypochondriac who seeks refuge on a tropical island, only to find himself in the midst of a revolution. It's pretty bizarre stuff, and then you add the fact that his sidekick his a giant played by John Aasen. Some of the gags are tremendous, notably Aasen walking around with a cannon on his back taking out legions of revolutionary soldiers.

Ooh and Hot Water is incredible too, it's really 3 20 minute episodes, with each one absolutely sublime. The climax of Lloyd reaching his wit's end as he fears he has killed his mother-in-law is brilliantly realized, with images and objects that are incidentally shown, becoming key pieces in the escalation of the episode. Come to think it Hot Water might be his funniest.

As for Harry Langdon, I've only seen Tramp, Tramp, Tramp and found it very funny. I love how hesitant his character is and how he'll milk it to the point of being uncomfortable. I also enjoy how completely oblivious he is to his surroundings. I'm intrigued to see Three's A Crowd, if only to see how bad it can possibly be.

I've been working through a "Fatty" Arbuckle boxset the last couple months, and I generally like his films, though he's a bit more inconsistent. I think it's partly the Sennett influence, as the Sennett films always seem to end up using the same pratfalls, with some absurd violence thrown-in. When they hit, they hit, but when they miss they tend to drag. The best I've seen so far are "The Rounders" (Chaplin and Arbuckle are both astonishingly good in this one), "Fatty Joins The Force" (the pratfall that Arbuckle does where he falls over backwards into a shoulder roll is sheer beauty), "He Did and He Didn't" (Fatty as a murderer), and "Coney Island" (somehow Fatty is utterly convincing in drag). I also really like his chemistry with Mabel Normand. I'm itching to see "Fatty and Mabel Adrift", but haven't found a copy yet.
"Do you think it's dangerous to have Busby Berkeley dreams?" - The Magnetic Fields
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Ann Harding
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Re: Harold Lloyd

Post by Ann Harding »

I watched Girl Shy yesterday and I must say I am starting to warm up towards Lloyd. The mad chase at the end was incredible and Robert Israel's score helped immeasurably. I guess Lloyd has less idiosyncrasies than Chaplin or Keaton. He is more a normal American boy, a bit shy and withdrawn, until he meets the right girl and then suddenly goes on achieving mad feats such as climbing a building or driving a horse-drawn carriage, a streetcar, etc.
I also remember that scene where he saw Jobyna's reflection in the water thinking he is dreaming. Well, now I'll make the effort to watch more Lloyd! Thanks for all the advice. :wink:
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MichiganJ
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Re: Harold Lloyd

Post by MichiganJ »

myrnaloyisdope,

All the Lloyd's you listed are very funny and fall into his gag-filled films, and don't concentrate too much on plot and pathos. Hot Water, for instance, is, as you suggest, pretty much 3 two-reelers. I love 'em.

If you haven't, you should see Langdon's The Strong Man. I think it stands up with any of the big three's classics.

The Arbuckle set is great, but I limited myself to only watching no more than two shorts at a time, because they do tend to all blur together, and the endings are all quite similar (as are most Sennetts). (Good drinking game: take a shot every time Arbuckle dresses in drag.)
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charliechaplinfan
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Re: Harold Lloyd

Post by charliechaplinfan »

Isn't Roscoe Arbuckle convincing in drag? I've seen pictures of Chaplin in drag and he looks pretty convincing too. The Rounders is a film I'd love too see, can anyone give me a link to the set that includes this film.

I wonder if this makes Roscoe Arbuckle the only comedien who worked with both Chaplin and Keaton. There is speculation as to how much influence Buster Keaton had over Arbuckle's work. I've watched quite a few of their shorts and I can see similarities because I've not seen earlier Arbuckle work I can only believe what I've read.

I've watched both Hot Water and Why Worry. Hot Water started very strongly, I remember most the turkey on the trolley car and all the shopping. After two thirds of the way through it sagged and unfortunately I lost interest, probably my fault, I do remember it being really funny in the beginning. Why Worry was just too far fetched for me, wasn't he a hypochondric in that one.

Girl Shy not Girl Crazy is my favorite.

The one thing I remember I think it must have been from the documentary 'The Third Genius' is that it talked about his bad temper a lot, I found that a little unnecessary when balanced with the things he had achieved. He was the type of guy who gave himself 110% to whatever he was trying to acheive at the time.
Failure is unimportant. It takes courage to make a fool of yourself - Charlie Chaplin
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bdp
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Re: Harold Lloyd

Post by bdp »

Hot Water doesn't hold together for me - it really is like three two-reelers slapped together with no central, over-arching plot.
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Re: Harold Lloyd

Post by myrnaloyisdope »

Charliechaplinfan here is a link to the boxset with The Rounders (sadly it's out of print): http://www.amazon.com/Forgotten-Films-R ... 670&sr=1-2

You can also watch it on youtube:

[youtube][/youtube]

As for Hot Water, well even if it is 3 two-reelers stuck together, I think each two-reeler is hysterical. Definitely a must see in my books.
"Do you think it's dangerous to have Busby Berkeley dreams?" - The Magnetic Fields
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Re: Harold Lloyd

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This is great reading. I have quite a few Lloyd films courtesy of TCM. I like him. Just from the stand point of the gags he is terrific. The features are often short enough that they are enjoyable and don't really suffer from slow spots for me. "Why Worry?", "Dr. Jack", "The Freshman" and "An Eastern Westerner" are all fun and a nice mix. Lloyd can have a bit of a mean streak that I don't see in Keaton but that is rare.

I really like Keaton (of the three usually mentioned) best. "Our Hospitality" and "Seven Chances" are among my favorites. Kevin mentioned the scene in "The General" about throwing wood in the engine for the train. During the same sequence they steal a rail fence. She picks up one with a hole in it. After looking more closely at it she decides it is damaged and throws it away. It is not even about any story I just think he is funny. One less known that is pretty good is "Go West." Buster as a cowboy is funny enough thinking about it. However, he moves on but has a new friend to bring with him - a cow.

Stan and Ollie are rare in that they made such a great transition to sound. So much was added by what they could do with dialogue. Whether is was destroying English or just a simple misunderstanding added immeasurably to their wonderful humor. I've said it before but I think what also helps add to their appeal is their obvious affection for each other. "Putting Pants on Phillip" is a riot.

One thing I find common in all of the old greats is how smoothly they moved. There was grace, athleticism and no hesitation. It's too bad that Adam Sandler has to pass for what it is (supposed to be) funny today.
Chris

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Gagman 66
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Re: Harold Lloyd

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For some reason I was not able to log-in here for the past several days. I have been trying to join this thread but couldn't. Harold Lloyd is my favorite of the Big Three Silent comedians. I love Chaplin, and Keaton, but Lloyd is much easier to relate to for the average person. Harold has been my hero since the late 70's

GIRL SHY was the first Lloyd feature I ever saw back in 1979, and to this day I think it is one of the finest romantic comedies ever produced. This was the old Blackhawk films release when I was 12 years old. Which was cut by a good real and a half. Shortly after this, I saw the Time-life print of THE FRESHMAN at the Cinema Arts Guild, and never before or since have I heard such laughter in a Theater setting. Even the most maligned Lloyd Silent feature DR. JACK (1922), is still a treasure. Lloyd was a great film-maker, and controlled every aspect of his productions. I have always considered Harold as the Principle director, He just did not take the on-screen credit which by all rights He could have done so. Ultimately, this has done him in retrospect, a great disservice reputation wise. But he was above any assigned director, and always had the last word.

Must say that while I am a big fan of Robert Israel, I am still very partial to the Jim Parker score to GIRL SHY produced for Photoplay Productions. And for that matter the Adrian Johnston score for HOT WATER. A film I watched with my late Mother at least 6 times together. She always laughed as hard as she did the first time. The film is nowhere near as funny with the Israel score. I still can't understand why the Lloyd trust had either of these replaced, but they did. On the other hand, Mr. Israel's scores to GRANDMA'S BOY, WHY WORRY?, and my favorite Lloyd feature "THE FRESHMAN" couldn't have been much better. I'm so glad that Justin, Christine, and others are finally discovering Harold Lloyd! I knew that you would definitely not be disappointed! I have written volumes of material on Lloyd over the years, so I will go back and try and pick out some high points.
Last edited by Gagman 66 on May 6th, 2009, 2:15 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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charliechaplinfan
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Re: Harold Lloyd

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I wondered why I hadn't heard from you Jeffrey, I thought you'd left us. I know we've talked through the various merits of Harold Lloyd, Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton together, although I don't rate him as high as the Keaton and Chaplin I agree that Girl Shy is one of the best romantic comedies.

Chris, you've summed up Buster's magic for me, those little touches, like the wood. I think that sums Buster up for me, lots of little touches that go together make a great big wonderful film. I haven't seen Go West yet, that's lack of time rather than inclination, I'll dig it out soon.

Thank's for the link to Youtube, Myrnaloidoscope, I can watch Charlie anytime anywhere.

They all had grace, that made them pleasant to watch. I think most of them had some kind of theatrical training. Adam Sandler, I'm not sure I've even watched him.
Failure is unimportant. It takes courage to make a fool of yourself - Charlie Chaplin
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Gagman 66
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Re: Harold Lloyd

Post by Gagman 66 »

Alison,

:o I had been checking the board most every day, until recently. I just haven't posted as much. Couldn't log in all last week. Ironically, I just got the long out of print Laser-disc of Keaton's GO WEST. The score is so much better than the current DVD, it is like watching a different film altogether. Seen this a long time ago on the old AMC, but never was able to round up a copy until now. With this score GO WEST is in my top 3 favorite Keaton features! I still like SEVEN CHANCES the best. I never have thought all that highly of THE GENERAL, even at the time it must have seemed old hat and boring to 1926 Movie-goers. So why the film has become so legendary is beyond me? More of a drama than a comedy, and just not funny. Keaton fans who went to see Buster's films would have expected allot more laughs and just didn't get them.

:? Don't get me wrong, I love Buster, but I still think his overall reputation has been somewhat over-inflated over the past 40 years or so, because other peoples films just were just not around to compare them too. And people listened to Walter Kerr in the 70's when THE SILENT CLOWNS was published. Basically He was a Keaton fanatic, and paid little attention to Lloyd assigning H L only three chapters in his book. Which is very sad. To me, Lloyd's 11 Silent features of 1921-1928, are more than a match for Keaton's, and probably are more consistent in quality from film to film.
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Re: Harold Lloyd

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I always considered Go West Keaton's weakest film (which is like saying Let It Be is the weakest Beatles' album, it's still great). Essentially a long short, Go West lacks a real plot and is instead made up of a lot of gags derived from the western setting. But, on closer inspection, Go West becomes rather intriguing. Keaton's character is named "Friendless" (no doubt a poke at D.W. Griffith's penchant for calling his characters things like "The Dear One", or a personal favorite from Hearts of the World, "The Little Disturber"), and as "Friendless" makes his way through the picture, Keaton the director is adding all kinds of sentiment to the character. Now, the idea of Keaton coming up with a sentimental character is nearly an oxymoron. Keaton makes pretty clear early on that "Friendless" isn't worthy of sentiment (even a docile dog turns away from him when he goes to pat it), and his only friend, as Chris pointed out, is a cow. I think that Keaton is playing with the sentimentality of Chaplin's (and, to some extent, Lloyd's) films. When looked at it that way, I think Go West is more of a subtle satire, rather than just a western spoof.
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MichiganJ
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Re: Harold Lloyd

Post by MichiganJ »

gagman wrote:
And people listened to Walter Kerr in the 70's when THE SILENT CLOWNS was published. Basically He was a Keaton fanatic, and paid little attention to Lloyd assigning H L only three chapters in his book. Which is very sad. To me, Lloyd's 11 Silent features of 1921-1928, are more than a match for Keaton's, and probably are more consistent in quality from film to film.
I'm in total agreement about Kerr and his book. Unfortunately it's still looked on as THE resource for silent film comedy. While he gives substantially less room to Lloyd than he does Chaplin and Keaton (I wonder if it was because LLoyd's films were harder to see?), Kerr does far worse to (my beloved) Langdon. Kerr perpetuates Frank Capra's bold faced lie (found in Capra's dubious memoir) that it was Capra who developed Langdon's character. For better or worse, Langdon had his character honed long before Capra got behind the lens of a camera. Yes, Capra directed Langdon's masterpiece The Strong Man, but it was Langdon who helped Capra get the job (and it's likely that Langdon co-directed, just as the other big three).

Kerr's book needs to be taken with a big grain of salt.
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