Doctor Jack

The rural doctor goes his rounds, contending with a motorcar that has a mind of its own, cattle in the road, etc. He cures a sick dolly for a weeping little girl. A grand fellow, run a little ragged by his duties.

The main theme is a young lady of wealth surrounded by expensive quacks and kept in a dark manor house from the refreshment of the elements.

A topflight Harold Lloyd film with gagwork played for lightning laughs and an almost hallucinatory finale to the very brightest and clearest of comedies from Taylor and Newmeyer as compared to the Photo-Surrealism of Why Worry?, say.


Safety Last!

“I’ll be right back—

Soon as I ditch the cop.”

A satire of the boy who leaves his girl behind in Great Bend while he makes his fortune.

One might as well be hanged, which is the opening gag.

High places are the theme, he pretends to occupy one in his letters, actually he’s a department store clerk.

The surrealism is very intense, a wax dummy for the ladies’ department sneezes evading the time clock, that’s him in disguise, sending a porter up the wall to the ceiling in alarm.

It’s just moneygrubbing and baloney, such a course of action, and for this Lloyd gives the character his own name in full.

The whole point being an altogether different kind of comeuppance, namely a climb right up the side of the building, all twelve floors, a publicity stunt for the store, to earn the money to marry the girl.

And at that he has a stand-in, a chum who’s very able with tall buildings, only a cop not from Great Bend interferes, fate sends the boy up the wall himself.

Not to observe the meaning of the comedy is to be a gawk far below, on the sidewalk (like the drunk in a net he’s too befuddled to sort out).


Why Worry?

Lloyd’s portrayal of a hypochondriac is of the funniest. His deployment to a rest cure is ironic, and you can’t ask for more than that in a short, which this is sometimes described as.

He is in a South American revolution before you can name it, in a continuous stream of brightly articulated gags. He finds an ally in a fellow so mammoth, he must be climbed like Sir Edmund Hillary to be believed. He is besieged. He mounts an opposition out of Beau Geste, and is victorious.

Also in love (only the brave deserve the fair).

An epic comedy.


The Freshman

Fall Semester, 1924. Speedy the Spender, tackling dummy, water boy on the football team, unbeknownst to himself.

A basted tuxedo at the Fall Frolic, tailor on hand, a little bell goes off.

His girl tells him what’s what.

The football field, “where men are men and necks are nothing.”

The very last ditch.

The college hero, showered with praise.

The rest of the story is in Preston Sturges’ The Sin of Harold Diddlebock.