Monday Movie: Speedy

"Speedy" (Harold Lloyd) has considerable trouble holding down a job, whether he's goofing off in an ice cream parlour or terrorizing passenger Babe Ruth by driving a taxi without looking where he's going. Fortunately, he has a devoted girlfriend with an amiable old father. This old-fashioned geezer also happens to be the man who drives the last horse-drawn trolley in New York - or at least, he does as long as he's able to maintain a service at least once every twenty-four hours. And some unscrupulous businessmen have a few ideas about that...

As Lloyd's last silent film, this saw his brand now carefully honed into exactly, well, you know, that kind of film that it was. Where the two other great "silent comedians" of the era were dedicated filmmakers with an interest in cinematic experimentation (in the case of Buster Keaton) or heartwarming storytelling (in the case of Charlie Chaplin), Harold Lloyd films were mostly just intended as vehicles for his comedic talent, happy to drop everything and run off in pursuit of any good gag. Speedy perhaps stands out in that it finds a structure where it all fits together quite nicely. Speedy's different jobs enable Lloyd to get involved in all manner of hijinks, a trip to Coney Island fair ground cements his chemistry with leading lady Ann Christy (in what was apparently both her big break and her last major picture), and the battle for the old trolley runs through a glorious slapstick street brawl before the inevitable madcap chase to the climax.

1 comment:

Michelle said...

Your film reviews are always interesting and accessible. I really think you should spread that talent around. I would happily read a film column of yours in the newspaper. You always pique my interest in films that I would never otherwise give a second glance.