Harold Van Pelham (Lloyd) is a hypochondriac, rich businessman who sails to the tropics for his 'health.' Instead of the peace and seclusion he is seeking, he finds himself in the middle of... See full summary »
Harold Van Pelham (Lloyd) is a hypochondriac, rich businessman who sails to the tropics for his 'health.' Instead of the peace and seclusion he is seeking, he finds himself in the middle of a revolution. He is imprisoned where he befriends the friendly giant, Colosso (Aasen), and they engineer an escape. Together, they quell the revolution. Written by
Herman Seifer <email@example.com>
Ringling Brothers circus giant Cardiff Giant (aka George Auger) was contracted to play the role of Colosso, but died shortly after filming began. A nationwide publicity campaign was instituted to find a replacement. Norwegian John Aasen, living in Minnesota, was discovered as a result of a newspaper article about his shoe size. See more »
The chalk marking Harold makes for the spare in bowling changes. See more »
The zaniest, most cartoonlike of all Harold Lloyd features recaptures the energetic anarchy of his wilder short subjects while at the same time drawing from the sort of satirical innocent-ugly-American-abroad adventures that Douglas Fairbanks and Anita Loos had popularized in the teens.
Lloyd plays an obtuse millionaire hypochondriac who "has taken so many pills he rattles when he walks." He blunders into a banana republic's revolution and must defeat a dictatorial regime backed by an unscrupulous Yankee. Along the way, he faces up to his imaginary ills and falls for his spunky, long-suffering nurse -- ably played by the quietly sexy Jobyna Ralston in her first feature as Lloyd's love interest. But the real star is John Aase n -- all eight feet, nine and a half inches of him -- who makes an excellent 503 pound mad hermit, buddying up with Lloyd for some of the most improbable and unrelenting sight gag sequences ever put on film -- among them, an extended effort to pull the giant's aching tooth.
The setting is obviously Latin America (and, in fact, the whole film functions nicely as propaganda, artfully fudging the United States' imperial subjugation of the region by focusing on a single American villain) but when real-life Mexicans earnestly protested the film's stereotypes, Lloyd responded by changing the intertitles to suggest that the whole thing takes place on a mythical island. I can't imagine anyone was fooled by this since the Latino stereotypes still dominate the film: lazy peasants, greasy strongmen, etc.
Why Worry? grossed slightly less at the box office than Lloyd's previous film, Safety Last (almost $1.5 million vs. almost $1.6 million), and cost about a hundred thousand dollars more to make (almost $221,000 vs. almost $121,000). It was his last film for producer Hal Roach. Lloyd went on to make his next ten films independently for release through distributors like Pathe, Paramount and Fox -- but despite a few wild sequences in films like Hot Water and For Heaven's Sake, he never again made a picture quite as snappy and offbeat as Why Worry?
If the film looks back to Fairbanks, it looks ahead to the hypochondriac heroes of Broadway's The Nervous Wreck and its film versions, including Eddie Cantor's Whoopee! and Danny Kaye's Up in Arms, not to mention the mythical political intrigue of W. C. Fields' Million Dollar Legs, the Marx Brothers' Duck Soup, Woody Allen's Bananas, and much else in the realm of American low comedy.
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