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*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This is pretty solid Harold Lloyd Short, about 25 minutes in length
with three major segments: a couple of great gags at the amusement
park; Harold trying make a phone call and then Harold trying to
dispense of a purse he didn't steal.
The basic story is Harold trying to get back his girlfriend (Milred Davis) who is now with another man (Ray Brooks). They run into each other at a seaside amusement area and wild scenes ensue.
The first part is highlighted by a clever gag or two on a merry-go-round and crazy mirrors. The second part has some funny bit but goes on a bit too long as the our frustrated hero tries to make a public phone call. The third part is excellent as Harold just cannot get rid of this purse, no matter what he does.
That purse turns out to be his undoing. In the end, unlike most of Lloyd's films, he doesn't get the girl! That was a shock.
This is a very good short comedy, with some good material and a fine job by Harold Lloyd as one of his slightly amoral but still sympathetic characters. Lloyd was as good as anyone was at taking a simple situation and building it up with as much comic material as he could fit into it without going too far. The telephone booth sequence here is a great example, and it is as impressive in its creativity as it is enjoyable to watch. The rest of "Number, Please" also works pretty well, and while there isn't much of a story to speak of, Lloyd is creative enough that you barely notice. Lloyd's style works well in this one, and it's a very entertaining feature.
A Hal Roach HAROLD LLOYD Comedy Short.
A young fellow desperately tries to win back the affections of his ex-girlfriend during a madcap day at a seaside pleasure pier.
Silent screen genius Harold Lloyd has a wonderful showcase for his comedic talents in this extremely funny little film. Among the difficulties confronting Harold are a couple of contrary canines, several suspicious cops, a grossly incompetent telephone operator and a rapacious goat. The sequences involving the crazy mirrors, the phone booths and the small black boy are absolute gems.
Mildred Davis--his future real-life wife--is the object of Harold's affections. Stout Roy Brooks plays the determined Rival.
Robert Israel has composed an excellent film score which perfectly complements Harold's antics on the screen.
Funny Lloyd short is plenty on laughs as Lloyd goes to great limits to win the heart of a girl. Isn't that the basic plot of all the silent shorts from all the screen comics. There is the girl you have to the get and the laughs come from the approach. Today's comic have women in the movies but they are prizes that are given to the comic, not chased or earned in today's movies, id est the female love interest does not function as the macguffin which is the case in all the good silent comedies. That said, there are cops following Harold as he is acting very suspiciously for he is trying to dispose of a purse that he did not steal. As he tries to do this, making phone calls with a crying child, scenes on a rollercoaster all combine to deliver the laughs and finally, a bitter-sweet ending is the perfect coda to the futilities of the female hunt.
Just watched this Harold Lloyd short on the DVD "The Cook and Other Treasures". It takes place in an amusement park in Orange Park, California. Plenty of gags involving a girl (Mildred Davis-Lloyd's future wife), rival Roy Brooks (who'd become Lloyd's assistant later on), telephone booths, a dog, a purse, a merry-go-round, and a little black boy who'd later become a member of the original "Our Gang" (Ernie Morrison). Producer/director Hal Roach appears in silhouette early on. Also early on is a gag involving a roller coaster and hats that provides the start of consistent laughs that I give through most of this entertaining short. The scene with the telephone booths and operators mixing up various calls was also one of the most hilarious in the short. I think I've said enough so on that note, I highly recommend Number, Please?
This middling Harold Lloyd short is neatly divided into three sections:
concerning romantic rivalry at an amusement park, it starts off with a
dog chase (this early part also involving a distorted mirror gag); the
mid-section is devoted to the inventive telephone antics which give the
film its title; the last part, then, resolves itself into a rather
overstretched sequence in which Lloyd, chased by the police, tries to
get rid of an incriminating purse.
Still, perhaps the single funniest bit occurs at the very beginning - a succession of title cards categorizing how various lovesick men deal with their predicament.
Harold Lloyd wants back the girl, Mildred Davis, she has lost.Her new boyfriend, Roy Brooks, doesn't want to lose the girl.The girl has lost her dog in an amusement park, so the boys try to find the dog and the way to her heart.The girl has a balloonist uncle and he gives her a pass for two in his balloon, but there must be her mother's approval first.Easier said than done.Number, Please? (1920) is directed by Hal Roach and Fred C. Newmeyer.Roach is also seen in the movie playing a sailor.This is a great short comedy with many gags.It's funny when the dog is caught in the merry-go-round.The sequence where Harold tries to make a call at the telephone booth is most amusing.The lady gives him her baby who won't stop crying.It's a lot of fun to watch Harold with the purse.This is a treat for all the Harold Lloyd fans.
While NUMBER, PLEASE? is an enjoyable HAROLD LLOYD silent short, I do
think that he has a tendency here to milk a situation for all it's
worth and goes on too long in the same vein.
The fun starts at an amusement park where Lloyd is anxious to make an impression on a pretty girl (MILDRED DAVIS) who is with a boyfriend that would like to see Lloyd disappear. Both men are soon looking for her lost pooch (interestingly, called General Pershing), and while Lloyd finds the dog, it's the other man who gets the credit after a stunt involving a merry-go-round and man and dog on a leash.
The mid-section involving both men trying to get in touch with the girl's mother is not quite as amusing--in fact, it becomes trying at times and it's here that the story runs into a time lag with repetitious sight gags.
The last half involving a lost purse is highly amusing and played for maximum laughs as Lloyd, believing it's someone's stolen purse rather than the girl's, tries to get rid of it while it keeps coming back like a boomerang.
Amusing, but certainly not the best of Harold Lloyd's comedy shorts.
NUMBER, PLEASE? (1920)
*** (out of four)
Harold Lloyd two-reeler has Lloyd trying to mend a broken heart by going to an amusement part where he meets a lovely young lady but he must compete with her boyfriend. The first reel is wonderfully funny with all sorts of great gags including one where Lloyd is in the last cart of a ride with everyone else's hats hitting him. The second reel loses a lot of its punch but overall this was still a pretty good short that shows off what was to come in Lloyd's career.
Available on DVD through Kino and New Line.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
"Number, Please?" is a 24-minute live action short film from 1920, so 4 more years and this one has its 100th anniversary. The names Roach, Walker, Lloyd and Davis will seem familiar to everybody with a bit of an interest in silent films and here we have one from the early years of cinema that is of course also still in black-and-white. Almost all the action takes place inside an amusement park and it is the perfect location for Lloyd to show us his comedic talent. After finishing his routine, there develops a story and plot about two guys being interested in a young woman (played by Mildred Davis a couple years before she married Lloyd) and one of the guys is Lloyd for example. Yes this film could have needed more intertitles too and it is sometimes painful to watch how the lack of sound keeps this film from being an even better watch but we need to be pleased with what we have I guess. And it's not too difficult as the contents here are among the more entertaining stuff Lloyd has to offer in his really prolific years around 1920. i recommend the watch. Thumbs up.
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