There’s the Big Three of early film comedy; we’ve covered Buster Keaton in full, and we’ve covered Charlie Chaplin’s limited run, but we have yet to get to Mr. Harold Lloyd, probably because he has but one title on the list. I know, it’s incredulous to believe Safety Last! didn’t make the list, what with its iconic image of Lloyd hanging from the face of a clock, but even with the absence of his most remembered film, the list caters to fans of Lloyd by at least including his most beloved and revered film, The Kid Brother. Telling the story of a young man constantly under the shadow of his father and older brothers, the film’s storyline will undertake a similar transformation as that of Chaplin’s and Keaton’s, that of Lloyd mustering up the gumption to win the day as well as the girl.
Lloyd’s style of comedy is much more situational than his two peers; he will often set up situations where the gags are set off by themselves, and even with the physicality of Keaton and Chaplin, Lloyd would become known for the daredevil stunts he would undertake. Still, he shares much in common with his associates, including the physicality of Keaton and the charm and storytelling of Chaplin; we can’t help but like Lloyd’s character, and while he is no doubt the bumbling underdog, his street-smart savvy and a generous amount of fortune are usually enough for him to succeed at whatever goal he is pursuing.
Lloyd is a very visual comic, setting up his gags to almost sneak up on us as the audience before they reveal their humor and allow us to laugh. It’s a very bankable process; it sets up a deposit system we pay into, and pays it off grandly. This is a sweet story that will easily win you over, mostly for its comedy, but also for the gigantic heart it has. The story is very easily discernible, but it’s still entertaining nonetheless, and if you’re going to see any of Harold Lloyd’s films, this is a great contender for the one you should see.
Arbitrary Rating: 8/10