Harold Lloyd disc 3

Just in case you hadn’t noticed: why yes, the arrangement of the films on the nine-disc Lloyd box is markedly different to that of the seven-disc box… anyway:

Why Worry?: Lloyd’s other film from 1923, and the last one he did for Hal Roach. Here he plays a hypochondriac millionaire who goes with his nurse and valet to a small South American stereotype… er, island republic for rest and relaxation, unaware that the whole place is a hotbed of revolutionary uprising even while he’s stuck in the middle of it. At heart this is really a story of a spoiled brat being forced to grow up, but Lloyd manages to make the sheer denseness and self-centredness of his character amusing rather than merely irritating (demanding the locals stop their revolution because it’s disturbing his rest while standing in front of a cannon about to go off. But what makes the film is his co-star, professional circus giant Johan Aasen as the hermit Colosso, a truly enormous dude whose height is apparently uncertain (even a website devoted to him is unable to determine how tall he was, beyond the fact that he was at least seven foot two and possibly well over eight feet) and who literally towers over the rest of the film. Great fun.

Dr Jack: wherein Lloyd plays the opposite of the above, a small-town doctor drafted in to save a young girl who’s basically being kept an invalid by a crooked and extremely expensive big city quack. Apparently this was his first “proper” feature, in that it was apparently the first one actually intended to be one (his previous longer efforts, which we’ll come to soon enough, weren’t meant to be long films but wound up that way during the shooting), although it has something of the character of a two-reel film or at least one in two distinct parts, where the first half shows us Lloyd on his regular beat and the second sees him confronting the expensive quack… this part culminating in a quite bizarre “haunted house” situation where Lloyd pretends to be an escaped maniac. Somewhat more sentimental than other Lloyds I’ve seen, but quite genial.

Feet First: simply could not get into this at all. Every now and then I’ll see an early talkie from 1929 to 1931, and I’ll think “god/dess, I could live without ever seeing another one of these”… this was like that. Just creaky and cranky from start to finish; Lloyd is a general dogsbody in a shoe store who gets mistaken for an important businessman. It all culminates in more shenanigans involving him outside a very tall building, which I’m sure were as dangerous as they were in Safety Last, yet somehow they’re nowhere near as involving. Maybe it’s cos you have to hear all the associated noises in this one. And the comedy negro janitor, or whatever the fuck he’s supposed to be, only adds to the pain. I think I’ll pass on ever watching this one again…

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