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Harold Hall, an accident prone young man with little or no acting ability, desperately wants to be in pictures. After a mix-up with his application photograph, he gets an offer to have a screen-test, and goes off to Hollywood. At the studio, he does everything wrong and causes all sorts of trouble. But he catches the fancy of a beautiful actress, and eventually the studio owner recognizes him as a comic genius. Written by
John Oswalt <email@example.com>
MOVIE CRAZY (1932) isn't one of Harold Lloyd's greatest comedies, or even, in this reviewer's opinion, his best talkie. It's a cliché story: small-town boy comes to Hollywood for stardom and falls flat on his face. Nincompoop wreaks havoc on movie studio. It's been done countless times, from Buster Keaton in FREE AND EASY (1930) to Red Skelton in MERTON OF THE MOVIES (1947).
Harold Lloyd plays the part of the fool, who ruins everything he comes in contact with. This type of character (similar to the talkie roles MGM would write for Buster Keaton) is sometimes hard to watch. Hopelessly naïve and pathetic. Viewed as a freak and played for a sucker. Always knocking over stacked objects or falling in puddles.
The gags are old and predictable (at least nowadays) and there are no groundbreaking stunts or anything. How many times have we seen the "oops, we must've switched hats" routine? And what do you think happens when Lloyd offers to help a woman unfold the top to her convertible? Or open an umbrella? Does that trick magician's jacket look just like Harold's, hanging in the restroom? (You bet it does.) This comedy just isn't all that funny, lacking some of the magic evident in Lloyd's silent classics.
The best thing in this movie is the beautiful Constance Cummings, who gives a rather impressive naturalistic performance as a Hollywood starlet whose path is crossed by Lloyd's accident-waiting-to-happen character. Cummings grows fond of Lloyd (whom she nicknames "Trouble") and her character manages to bring a cute romantic element to the film.
The first half-hour or so is pretty dull, but there's a fun little twist where Lloyd cannot recognize Cummings in her exotic on-set make-up and falls in love with the same woman twice. Cummings realizes this and plays around with Lloyd's heart. But does she actually love him, or is it all part of some game? This interesting "love triangle" is the strongest part of the script, and Cummings manages the dual role beautifully.
MOVIE CRAZY isn't all bad, but it is something of a letdown. Most of the "comedy" is tiresome, although certain bits work better than others. Interestingly, this talkie lacks some of the wit of Harold Lloyd's silent films. The story is nothing special, but Constance Cummings shines in her role and anchors the sweetness that makes the film's second half worth watching.
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