The second volume of the definitive Harold Lloyd collection in no way plays second banana to Vol. 1
. This splendid two-disc set might be the best of the three Lloyd volumes, and on its own serves as a worthy introduction to one of silent cinema's comic geniuses. It has three of Lloyd's finest features, Grandma's Boy
, <>The Freshman, and The Kid Brother
, one of his funniest sound features, and a smorgasbord of topnotch shorter films.
The Freshman (1925) presents Lloyd's successful screen persona fully realized: hopeful, plucky, a regular guy with high ambitions. He plays a college plebe whose ridiculous ideas about making himself ingratiating to others (including hilariously inapt jig during a handshake) makes him the laughingstock of the campus. The movie concludes with a justifiably famous football sequence, later excerpted by Preston Sturges for his Lloyd-starring comedy, The Sin of Harold Diddlebock. The Kid Brother (1927) is Harold as the weak link in the tough Hickory family, while Dr. Jack (1922) casts him as a country doctor whose ordinary ways prove sharper than they seem (his co-star, as in some other films here, is future wife Mildred Davis). In Grandma's Boy (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 uproarious 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.
The short films include Bumping Into Broadway (1919), which gives an early glimpse at Lloyd's athleticism, and Billy Blazes, Esq. (1919), which puts Lloyd in the Old West. The gem is High and Dizzy (1920), a warm-up for his classic Safety Last (on Vol. 1), which has a great sequence with Lloyd tipsily navigating a ledge on a high building. Feet First (1930), Lloyd's second talking picture, has Harold as an upwardly-striving shoe salesman trying to finesse his way up the ladder. Some good shipboard sequences in the middle of this one, but the main drawing card is a throwback: Lloyd re-visiting the Safety Last hanging-from-a-building sequence, but this time working every variation known to slapstick. It's really funny, and shows his physical dexterity to be undiminished (the bit is marred only by the insensitive racial jokes at the expense of actor Willie Best, who is billed under his wince-worthy performing name, Sleep 'n Eat). Commentaries on two films and lots of production stills round out the package, along with a short doc about music for silent slapstick comedy. --Robert Horton
Having appeared in more than 200 films and widely considered to be one of cinema's most respected comic geniuses, Harold Lloyd was one of Hollywood's first true movie stars. Now, entertainment enthusiasts of all ages can enjoy the work of the man who inspired generations of acting greats with The Harold Lloyd Comedy Collection.
Audio Commentary:Commentary by Leonard Maltin, Rich Correll and film historian Richard Bann on The Freshman Commentary by Harold Lloyd's granddaughter Suzanne Lloyd, Author Annette Lloyd and Rich Correll on Kid Brother
Other:*All feature films and shorts are full frame versions. **All content will have Spanish subtitles. Only the pictures with sound will have English subtitles and closed captions