Slapstick Symposium: The Harold Lloyd Collection [DVD]

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Are Crooks Dishonest?
An Eastern Westerner
Harold Lloyd plays a wealthy, spoiled New York City boy in this two-reeler. His parents, fed up with his nightclubbing ways, ship him off to his uncle's ranch in Piute Pass. Harold pulls into the rootin', tootin' town and it isn't long before he has a run-in with bully "Tiger Lip" Thompkins (Noah Young. The bully is terrorizing a virtuous young girl Mildred Davis by locking up her sick father. He'll let her dad go only if she gives in to his lecherous wishes. Harold saves the father, and the wrathful bully is determined to get Harold. He sends his gang in pursuit, but Harold eludes them and winds up with the girl. One especially funny bit in this comedy is when Harold hides from the bullies in a skirt that's hanging on a clothesline. ~ Janiss Garza, Rovi

Bumping into Broadway
Harold Lloyd and Bebe Daniels are next-door neighbors in a shabby boardinghouse. Harold scrapes together just barely enough money to pay his rent when he runs into Bebe, who is crying in the hallway. Her rent is overdue, so Harold gives her his cash. Harold has to use all his ingenuity to avoid his aptly-named landlord, Bearcat Simpson, so he can make his way to the theater to find out the status of a new play he has written. To get to the theater, he jumps on a passing car and annoys its stuffy passenger. Unfortunately, the man turns out to be the manager of the theater, and Harold enters his office, he throws him out. Meanwhile, Bebe, who is rehearsing on stage, is being unfairly fired by the musical director (Harry "Snub" Pollard). Harold comes to her defense and as a result, is tossed out of the theater completely. As he is nursing his wounds, a limo drives up -- it's a wealthy young man who takes Bebe out for an evening on the town. Harold literally hitches a ride by crawling into a streetcleaner's cart and hooking it on the back of the limo. Everyone arrives at a supper club where, through a chain of events, Harold wins a big pile of money at roulette and makes up with Bebe. The police raid the place and Harold and Bebe spend the last few minutes of the film successfully evading arrest. This was Lloyd's first two-reeler as his "glasses" character, and marked his initial jump into stardom. ~ Janiss Garza, Rovi

Grandma's Boy
This rollicking comedy is Harold Lloyd's second feature film and like the first, A Sailor-Made Man was originally conceived of as a short film. During the shooting, Lloyd and long-time collaborator Hal Roach insisted on continually developing his character and moving beyond pure gags into a real story. $100,000 and five reels later the film was ready to preview. Because the entire work was so funny and well-done, it was decided to leave it intact and market it as a feature film. Following the success of Grandma's Boy, Lloyd abandoned short films in favor of full length films. The story centers on Sonny, a flighty young boy who is required to join the rest of the men in his small town on a manhunt for a murderer. Totally frightened by the prospect of finding the killer, Sonny heads for the safety of his grandmother's home. She inspires the cowering youth with a stirring tale about her formerly timorous husband who went to a mysterious old witch for the courage to fight in the Civil War. The old wise woman gave him a magical Zuni charm which made Sonny's grandfather invincible. Armed with his amulet, the newly courageous grandfather rushed out to steal some important Yankee plans. The story enraptures the wide-eyed Sonny. Suddenly grandmother hands him the very amulet that made her husband a hero. Not realizing that the bauble is really only a handle from one of grandma's umbrella's, the emboldened Sonny charges off to single-handedly save the town from the fugitive villain. ~ Sandra Brennan, Rovi

I Do
Harold Lloyd and Mildred Davis play a young married couple (two years later, they became a real-life married couple). So far, all they know about parenthood is how to sneak bootleg liquor home in a baby carriage. That changes quickly when the girl's brother (Noah Young) leaves them with his two youngsters (Jackie Morgan and Jackie Edwards) for an overnight visit. The four-year-old does what four-year-olds do best -- he gets into everything from sawing a chair leg to nailing Harold's shoes to the floor to finding fireworks. The infant is hungry and crying, and Harold must figure out how to fill a baby bottle with milk. The nightmare (hellish for the couple, hilarious for the viewer) is capped when the wife glowingly reveals that she is expecting. Not among the best of Lloyd's two-reelers, but funny nevertheless. ~ Janiss Garza, Rovi

Just Neighbors
His Royal Slyness
Harold Lloyd stars in this tale of mistaken identity. A industrious young book salesman (Lloyd) switches places with a prince (Gaylord Lloyd, in real life, Harold's brother), who wants to stay in the U.S. The young man is quite unaccustomed to the court protocol, but he warms to the Princess (Mildred Davis) whose hand he must win. It's not much of a contest -- his rival (Harry Pollard) is a notorious drunk -- but complications arise when the real Prince returns home, having been cast aside by his gold-digging girlfriend. It takes a good dose of American ingenuity and a revolution, but all finally ends well. Notably, this two-reeler was the last made before Lloyd's disabling accident in which his hand was blown apart by a prop bomb. ~ Janiss Garza, Rovi

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