So I noticed that there’s a new Blu-Ray/DVD release of Harold Lloyd’s most famous film coming out this summer.
Which made me wonder: how many people remember Harold Lloyd? A lot, I hope. When I was a kid, his silent movies – or at least excerpts from them – were on the TV quite a lot. As were those of Laurel and Hardy, Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton. Thinking about it, I don’t think this stuff ever shows up on ‘mainstream’ TV channels now, does it? What a shame. Seeing that stuff when I was young felt perfectly natural, as if b&w silent comedies were just another part of the entertainment spectrum. Now they’re being forgotten, bit by bit. Made into a truly niche historical interest.
They deserve better, both the films and the superstar actors who made them. And Harold Lloyd was my favourite of those actors when I was a child. Chaplin’s films were too subtle and understated for my simple tastes at that tender age. Laurel and Hardy were funny, for sure, but even back then I recognised them as caricatures (though I don’t suppose I knew what that word meant!). Harold Lloyd was different: a real, ordinary guy doing funny things and – most important for the young me – also delivering crazy, crazy stunts and action. He was, in my very humble opinion, a film genius.
And this is the most famous evidence in support of that humble opinion. Ten minutes of stuntage, physical narrative, action, clever editing and interesting angles that would look good if it was made today, let alone ninety years ago:
Who needs CGI? (Honestly, the more time goes by, the more I think CGI is just such an unfortunate development. Inevitable, unavoidable, but unfortunate.)
Anyway, Harold Lloyd=Genius. I really don’t think there’s much room for doubt.