Thursday, May 23, 2013

Harold Lloyd Night

TCM is running another night of Harold Lloyd's movies. The night kicks off at 8:00 PM with Safety Last!, which I've briefly mentioned on several occasions, largely because it's got that iconic image of Lloyd hanging from the hands of a clock as he's trying to climb the side of a building for a publicity stunt at the department store where he works. Although that's the best-known scene, there are a whole lot of other wonderful sight gags, as I mentioned when I blogged about Lloyd back in August, 2008. Safety Last! has received a restoration, and is going to be released to DVD and Blu-Ray next month by the Criterion Collection. TCM's site currently lists Safety Last! as not available for purchase, but there are several apparently out-of-print versions, such as the Harold Lloyd Comedy Collection sets.

The other Lloyd features airing tonight include The Freshman at 11:00 PM, in which Lloyd wants to fit in at college, but is generally a failure at doing so -- until injuries to key members of the football team see him put on the field. The football scenes are good, as are scenes at a dance where Lloyd is wearing a new suit that isn't quite finished.

There's also The Kid Brother overnight at 1:45 AM. In this one, Lloyd plays the youngest brother in a family of manly men, who is considered by all of them to be quite the wimp. Circumstances conspire to put the family's reputation at risk, and Harold is the only one who can stop the bad guys, which he winds up doing with his usual collection of sight gags, even getting The Girl (Jobyna Ralston, who also played The Girl in The Freshman) at the end. Both of these are also on the Harold Lloyd box sets, although I don't know whether they're getting any restoration.

In between are a bunch of shorts, most of which I haven't seen and can't really comment on. As with most evenings when TCM runs a bunch of silent shorts, the airing times are something you have to guess: TCM lists a bunch of them as having the same start time, in between each of the features. So, Safety Last! is in a 90-minute slot, followed by several earlier shorts which are all listed as beginning at 9:30 PM. Then comes The Freshman, followed at 12:30 AM by more shorts before The Kid Brother comes on. These early shorts all seem to be one-reelers, based on how many are shoehorned in between the feature-length films. I also don't know which, if any, of them is available on DVD.

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