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Why Worry? (1923)

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Ratings: 7.6/10 from 918 users  
Reviews: 17 user | 10 critic

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 »


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Complete credited cast:
Harold Van Pelham
Jobyna Ralston ...
The Nurse
John Aasen ...
Colosso (as Johan Aasen)
Wallace Howe ...
The Valet
Jim Mason ...
Jim Blake (as James Mason)
Leo White ...
Gaylord Lloyd ...
Mark Jones ...
Mounted Captain


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 <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis






Release Date:

9 September 1923 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Why Worry?  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


(Turner library print)

Sound Mix:


(tinted and toned)|

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Harold Lloyd's first film with leading lady Jobyna Ralston. She was picked primarily because Lloyd wanted somebody who was exactly the opposite of his previous leading lady, Mildred Davis, who had by then retired from films to become Mrs. Harold Lloyd. See more »


The chalk marking Harold makes for the spare in bowling changes. See more »


Harold Van Pelham: Why didn't you tell me I love you?
See more »


Referenced in Dogs of War (1923) See more »

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User Reviews

23 April 2003 | by See all my reviews

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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