Spotlight on Harold Lloyd’s Movie Crazy
I’ve got Harold Lloyd on the brain. Not only did we recently screen Safety Last! at Last Remaining Seats but yesterday I had to return the poor fellow to his granddaughter. I suppose that needs a bit explaining. Suzanne Lloyd was kind enough to share some artifacts for us to use for our screening including a cardboard cutout of Harold. Keeping track of him was my responsibility and he’d been hanging out in my living room for the past couple of months. Yesterday, I had to bid adieu to and send him back to his owner.
We’ll always have the Orpheum, Harold.
Anyway, when I heard about the Hot & Bothered Blogathon (hosted by Once Upon a Screen & CineMaven’s Essays from the Couch) celebrating the m0vies of 1932 I knew just what to pick – Movie Crazy, his third talking picture.
Movie Crazy concerns one Harold Hill, a small town Kansas boy which aspirations of movie stardom. He decides to send his picture to a film studio but, after a mix up, sends a picture of a much more handsome man. He’s immediately invited to screen test and heads to the coast convinced it’s his big break. The moment he arrives at the train station he comes across a movie filming. Immediately, he leaves his impression but, unfortunately, it’s a bad one and he ends up shutting down the set.
Things just go from bad to worse and he causes chaos every time he sets foot in the studio. This draws the attention of leading lady, Mary Sears (played by Constance Cummings), who somehow sees through all the mishaps to the good guy underneath. But will she be able to help him succeed? Will he win her heart?
Several silent stars had difficulty transitioning to sound films but not Harold Lloyd. His sweet yet clumsy good guy persona transitions seamlessly to sound and he’s completely in his element. Clearly the audience agreed because the film was a huge success and grossed more than double its budget. It was also a critical success garnering several favorable reviews. I have to agree. It’s a sweet story filled with a ton of laughs. The inclusion of sound did nothing to diminish Lloyd’s physical comedy genius. One particular scene involving him mistakenly wearing a magician’s coat filled with everything from eggs to live rabbits is absolutely hilarious. And since it takes place in Hollywood there’s a ton of delightful glimpses into the movie making process.
Movie Crazy proves that Harold Lloyd was as funny speaking as he was silent. It’s a true testimony to his comedic genius and one of his funniest films. I love it.