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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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
A MOVIE CRAZY young klutz comes to Hollywood and tries to become a film star in the worst possible way.
Harold Lloyd had a solid success with this, his third talking film. Not only is he still a very funny fellow with outstanding athletic abilities (especially considering that half of his right hand was a prosthetic) but the film itself is remarkable for its feeling of natural realism. It doesn't look or sound like most of its other contemporaries. The dialogue has a true ring to it and much of the acting is perfectly straightforward & unaffected. Much credit must go to the fine work done by the director, writer & cameraman.
The production values are of a very high order, offering glimpses of back lot Paramount Studios as a bonus. Harold's gags are often hilarious and he has some tremendous sequences, creating unintended havoc about the movie lot, attending a fancy dance party while wearing a magician's coat maliciously intent on disgorging its contents, or engaging in a climactic battle with the bad guy around a flooded set.
Constance Cummings, as the actress who captures Harold's heart, gives a remarkably naturalistic performance, sweetly bringing the viewer under her spell. You want Harold to fall for her, even while he only has eyes for her Latin alter ego. Here is a performer who deserves to be rediscovered.
DeWitt Jennings & Lucy Beaumont are enjoyable in their very short opening sequence as Harold's Kansas parents. Kenneth Thomson, as the villain of the film, is effective as the drunken brute who wants Miss Cummings for himself. Spencer Charters is fun as a highly temperamental studio executive. Arthur Housman is on hand playing the patented inebriate he performed so often. And marvelous Louise Closser Hale shines in her only scene as a Hollywood matron who shares a disastrous dance with Harold.
Movie mavens will recognize Noah Young, a familiar face from Harold's silent films, as an upset cop & a hilarious Grady Sutton as a nervous fellow who's terrified of mice--both uncredited.
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