THE HAROLD LLOYD COLLECTION  (NEW LINE HOME ENTERTAINMENT )

(Contains over 25 classic feature and short comedies including SAFETY LAST, THE FRESHMAN, SPEEDY, GIRL SHY, GRANDMA'S BOY, THE KID BROTHER, MOVIE CRAZY, THE MILKY WAY, FOR HEAVEN'S SAKE, THE CAT'S PAW, HOT WATER) 

This will unquestionably be the most personal, and admittedly most biased review I've ever written, because Harold Lloyd was the grandfather I never had. We met when I was a kid in New York and bonded instantly due to the fact that I loved silent films (his in particular!) and that I was absurdly familiar with the works of his that I had seen multiple times. When I  mentioned in an early letter to him that I had seen one of his films six times, he replied in his follow-up letter "Dick, I don't know if you're a glutton or a martyr." Whenever I would mention a minor fact about his career, or clumsily try to duplicate one of his bits in front of him he would say with amazement, "Dick, you're a kid ---- how could you possibly know that??") When I came out to Los Angeles to pursue acting, Harold was my one man cheerleader, advising me about everything from career moves to how to handle the girlfriends of mine that he met during the many times I was a guest at his estate. (I followed all of his career advice and, much to my later regret, was unable to heed his very wise counsel on how to deal with the opposite sex.)

Harold Lloyd was the single most popular silent screen comedian of all time. He made more silent shorts and films than Chaplin and Keaton (who are far better remembered today) put together, and every single one of them was a world-wide box-office bonanza. Of all these great Lloyd features, my favorite is GRANDMA'S BOY, wherein Harold plays a self-professed coward who, with the aid of a lucky charm, defeats the town bully, brings back precious memories for me. When Harold called me and asked for the first time whether I'd like to see one of his features in his screening room with him, the film that he chose was, in fact, one of his favorites, GRANDMA'S BOY--which I'd never seen. I remember his joy as I laughed constantly during this private presentation of a pristine 35mm print, which was shown without musical accompiment of any kind. (When it ended and I threatened to run amuck unless he showed me a second feature he thankfully complied with my demands and THE FRESHMAN [1925], which I'd only managed to see once before, was the second feature of choice.) 

While the excellent-to-good full screen black-and white source materials appear to be the same that aired recently on Turner Classic Movies a comparison I made between the dvd's I recorded at home from satellite tv and this new dvd collection makes it quite clear that this carefully remastered New Line collection has a more confident image quality than the homemade variety. The sole disappointment is the rather soft and slightly damage-prone image quality for 1924's HOT WATER, especially since the clip used in the 1962 Lloyd anthology film HAROLD LLOYD'S WORLD OF COMEDY (not included in this collection) looks far superior. The audio quality for the various newly recorded scores is very fine indeed.

Those of you who think of Harold Lloyd only as "that guy with glasses who hung from a skyscraper clock" are in for a wondrous and deliriously joyful voyage of discovery when you view this excellent sampling of the early works of the silent cinema's greatest and most prolific comedy genius. Thank you, New Line Home Entertainment.  And thanks, Harold, wherever you are.

--DICK DINMAN D

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