Sunday Matinee: Harold Lloyd

Whenever the subject of silent film comedians comes up, there’s always the big three that are mentioned. Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton and Harold Lloyd. While Chaplin and Keaton are the most widely known and seen – Lloyd gets short changed.

Harold Lloyd started making movies in the early years of silent films and started working for Hal Roach in 1915. By 1918 Lloyd and Roach had developed a character that Lloyd would always play – a nebbish, glasses wearing every man who tried to be successful and had a positive outlook on life. Starting in 1921 Lloyd focused more on feature length films instead of just making shorts.

Lloyd’s character was often involved in dangerous stunts which Lloyd often performed. While shooting Haunted Spooks in 1919 – he accidentally held a bomb that went off and he lost his thumb and index finger. For the rest of his career Lloyd wore a prosthetic glove that made it look like his hand was intact.

Lloyd made films until the mid-thirties where he retired. He made one more film with master comedic director Preston Sturges The Sin of Harold Diddlebock. It was a disaster and producer Howard Hughes recut the film and re-released as Mad Wednesday. It wasn’t much better. Lloyd died at the age of 77 in 1971.

A SAMMY IN SIBERIA (1919)

Girl Shy (1924) which features an awesome extended race to stop a wedding sequence that involves cars, horses, trolleys and whatever else they could find.

Harold Lloyd’s most famous film Safety Last! (1923). Remember, when he’s hanging off that clock – he’s doing it with only eight fingers.

Lloyd’s stunts and comedy inspired Jackie Chan – Here’s Chan’s version of the clock tower stunt from Project A.

Author: Shane Hnetka

Shane Hnetka has spent most of his life watching movies and reading comic books. He has decided to use this vast knowledge for evil instead of good.