Tuesday, July 31, 2018

CAFTAN WOMAN'S CHOICE: ONE FOR AUGUST ON TCM


"The movie with all the feels."
- Caftan Woman

Harold Lloyd could do no wrong with his feature films of the mid-1920s. Falling between the domestic comedy Hot Water and the romantic comedy For Heaven's Sake, 1925s The Freshman added to Lloyd's considerable lustre. Sam Taylor and Fred Newmeyer are the directors of this fine film. Newmeyer worked on Lloyd's pictures since 1916, and Taylor joined as a writer in 1921. The right team came together at the right time to provide laughs for generations. 

Harold Lloyd

Harold Lamb has been saving his money and preparing himself for college. One would imagine that preparing for college would entail some time spent hitting the books. Harold does hit the books, but they are novels filled with outlandish stories of the social life of the collegiate. Harold adds to this dubious self-help with multiple viewings of a popular film about a college hero. Harold believes that emulating the film character, including a fancy little jig he uses upon introductions, will ensure his social success. Harold has been practicing the routine and proudly shows it to his father. Harold's dad thinks his boy is a "lamb" to the slaughter. "I'm afraid, Ma, if Harold imitates that movie at college, they'll break either his heart or his neck!"

Harold Lloyd, Jobyna Ralston

Jobyna Ralston worked with Harold in nine films, beginning with a bit part in 1921s A Sailor-Made Man. 1927s The Kid Brother was their last co-starring feature. In The Freshman Jobyna plays Peggy who helps her mother run a boarding house for students and works at the hotel frequented by that crowd. Peggy and Harold meet over a crossword puzzle on the train to Tate College. It is love at first sight. Love of the shy, awkward and unspoken variety. They are adorable. 

Brooks Benedict

Brooks Benedict plays the College Cad who, with malice aforethought, turns Harold into the butt of many less than amiable gags. Benedict has one of those familiar faces from movies although most often he went uncredited throughout his long career. Harold is coerced by the College Cad into giving a speech to the assembled students in which he is comically assisted by an errant kitten. Harold also unwittingly makes an enemy of the Dean of the College. Unexpectedly wasting a lot of his money on treats for all, Harold's budget takes a hit causing him to change accommodation plans. Since this puts him at Peggy's mother's boarding house it was a case of good luck following bad.

Harold Lloyd

James H. Anderson plays Chet Trask, the captain of the football team and the current college hero. He is a true hero, who quietly takes Harold under his wing. Chet convinces the coach to let the artless, but enthusiastic Harold remain on the team as a water boy. Deluded Harold believes that he is the real deal. Anderson is quite nice in this role, but did little acting, spending most of his career as an assistant director. Some titles you may recognize include Outrage, Private Hell 36, Nocturne, Crack-Up, My Favorite Spy, Dance, Girl, Dance, Room Service, Love Affair, Stage Door and Hell's Highway

Harold Lloyd

The Freshman is indeed a movie with all the "feels". Harold is so darn likeable you can't help but be on his side. He is also so darn gullible that you ache when he is taken advantage of by the bully. We share Harold's rollercoaster ride of emotions. His excited anticipation of social success at college, followed by his nervousness and bravado facing each new situation. His burgeoning romantic feelings for Peggy. His enthusiasm at the football tryout and his weariness from the pounding he takes, and his pride at being a chosen one. His satisfaction and worry as a party host with problems. His despair upon learning his social and sports success is a sham, and his determination to win against all odds. Oh, my!

Triumph will come to Harold "I'm just a regular guy, call me Speedy" Lamb at the (you guessed it) big game! Oh, how you will cheer and how you will laugh, and how glad you will feel in your heart. How you will wonder if Harold will be any the wiser the following year. Harold will probably live his life with his heart on his sleeve and Peggy will love him always.


Tuesday, August 7 is the day TCM gives Harold Lloyd the Summer Under the Stars treatment. The lineup includes a mix of classic shorts and features with each one a treasure full of laughs, thrills, and heart. Any attention you can give to this day will be amply rewarded with joy.












11 comments:

  1. "With malice aforethought..." You sure this isn't a courtroom drama? :-D

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  2. I love The Freshman so much - probably my favorite Harold Lloyd film. It's a perfect film to cheer me up, especially because of the humorous intertitles and Harold's optimism. Great review.
    Kisses!

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    1. Thanks. It is a charmer in every way. No one could stay gloomy sharing the adventures of Harold Lamb.

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  3. Paddy Lee, keep on promoting the movies of Harold Lloyd. Lloyd was a comic genius, who didn't mind sharing credit with others. I was first introduced to Harold Lloyd on PBS in the 1970's, and have been a fan ever since. He portrayed the ordinary guy from anywhere, wearing his trademark horn-rimmed glasses and straw skimmer hat. If you want to laugh, be sure and watch Harold Lloyd.

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    1. My, you brought me back to those days when PBS introduced me to Harold Lloyd as well. "Hooray for Harold Lloyd. Doo-doo-doo-doo-doo-doo-doo-doo-doo."

      TCM has picked up where PBS left off with this Summer Under the Stars tribute. A new fan becomes a lifelong fan.

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  4. I really have to start watching Harold Lloyd movies. You seem to love them. :) Somehow I have a bit of a hard time getting into silent films. I just have to take the plunge.

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    1. I get that. We get used to a certain film language and silent era films can feel foreign. Humour does help a lot, and Harold's "glasses" character is so relatable that you can't help but get caught up in these movies. I hope you give him a try. Before you know it you'll be attending silent film festivals!

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  5. Harold Lloyd is one of my favorites, and The Freshman is truly funny. I thought its depiction of college football, er, I mean, college life, was hilarious. It's amazing how timely it still seems. If you can find the film at a local theater that will provide musical accompaniment, it just might change your mind about silent comedy and silent movies more generally.

    Marianne
    http://makeminefilmnoir.blogspot.com/

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  6. Great write Up! I'm torn between this one and Safety Last as my Favorite Lloyd comedy. Every time Lloyd dances and says "Call me Speedy" I laugh. "Tate University - A large football stadium, with a college attached." is still true today!

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  7. Such a great blog is very difficult to get. I am very happy to join this Blog in today framaroot pingpong root Root Master

    ReplyDelete

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