The most important family in Hickoryville is (naturally enough) the Hickorys, with sheriff Jim and his tough manly sons Leo and Olin. The timid youngest son, Harold, doesn't have the ... See full summary »
"Speedy" loses his job as a soda-jerk, then spends the day with his girl at Coney Island. He then becomes a cab driver and delivers Babe Ruth to Yankee Stadium, where he stays to see the ... 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... See full summary »
Always the mama's boy, or in this case a grandma's boy, Sonny joins a posse after a tramp accused of robbery and murder. He is unable to conquer his cowardice until Grandma tells him of his... See full summary »
Harold Lamb's dream is to go to college and become the most popular student on campus, much like the character Speedy played by actor Lester Laurel in the movie "The College Hero". Accepted into Tate College, Harold plans on emulating Speedy, including giving himself the nickname Speedy, to gain that popularity, not realizing that if he does so, he will be more the buffoon than the hero. To be the most popular student, he will have to outdo the current most popular student, football captain Chet Trask. Unaware Speedy's task is made all the more difficult when one of the upperclassmen, seeing how hard Speedy is trying to impress, does whatever he can to make Speedy look all the more ridiculous, all the while Speedy believing he is achieving his dream. The bully's efforts are made all the more easy as Speedy is able to buy his way to seeming popularity with the small nest egg he was able to accumulate from work. The one thing that Speedy may not be able to buy is his way onto the ... Written by
I was fortunate enough to have seen this film in the theater many years ago and I can owe it to this film for sparking my life-long love of the old comedies. I only recently saw it again but this time on DVD and found the film to be even better than I remembered.
For those used to seeing slapstick shorts (including those of Lloyd), this film is quite different. Instead of the focus of this film being comedy, the humor seems incidental to the story and the character development. Because of this, the first 1/4 of the movie does not have tons of laughs--because it's building and developing the story and not trying to elicit cheap laughs. However, as you watch, the humor increases and because this came as the character developed, you really find yourself hooked into caring for Harold and you are emotionally in-tune with him. So, as the movie continues, you find your heart breaking for the guy (yes, Chaplin was not the only silent comedian to use pathos). And, when the end of the picture arrives, you feel his triumph. An exquisite and highly artistic treasure.
PS--I watched the DVD with the optional commentary from Leonard Maltin et al. This REALLY improved my understanding and appreciation for the film. I rarely ever use this option, but as I was re-watching the film and since it was a silent, this option is a major plus.
Interestingly enough, Buster Keaton came out with a similar movie just a few years later (COLLEGE). However, it isn't even close to being as good as THE FRESHMAN. I love Keaton, but not this film. If you must seem one silent college picture, see THE FRESHMAN--and maybe the Marx Brothers' HORSE FEATHERS for a much stupider but terribly funny sound take on college life.
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