American Masters: Season 4, Episode 9

Harold Lloyd: The Third Genius (1 Feb. 1992)

TV Episode  -   -  Documentary | Biography | History
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Ratings: 7.3/10 from 153 users  
Reviews: 5 user | 1 critic

A film about the career and methods of the master silent comedy filmmaker.

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Title: Harold Lloyd: The Third Genius (01 Feb 1992)

Harold Lloyd: The Third Genius (01 Feb 1992) on IMDb 7.3/10

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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Himself / 'Glasses' Character / Willie Work / Harlod Diddlebock / Harold Hall / Harold Horne / Lonesome Luke / Speedy / Harold Hickory / Dr. Jackson / Hottentott / Harold Lamb (archive footage)
David Chasman ...
Peter Robeck ...
Jack Davis ...
Himself - Brother-in-Law
Alva Lyons ...
Gloria Lloyd Roberts ...
Jane Novak ...
Herself - Actress
Andrew L. Stone ...
Himself - Theater Owner
Walter Kerr ...
Frances Metzger ...
Peggy Cartwright ...


In this film, we explore the life, career and art of silent cinema's third major talent after Charles Chaplin and Buster Keaton, Harold Lloyd. We learn of his rise from a mere Chaplin rip off actor to a stellar talent when he found his own style of comedy which often involved outrageous stunts he performed even after his left hand was disfigured in an accident. Written by Kenneth Chisholm (

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Release Date:

1 February 1992 (Finland)  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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The Final in the Series of Brownlow produced tributes to the Silent Films
20 May 2005 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Starting with Hollywood in 1980 (which was produced in the late 1970s)Kenneth Brownlow had gathered material on the great silent film period that led to four documentary series. Hollywood was followed by THE UNKNOWN CHAPLIN, then one on Buster Keaton, and then (in 1989) HAROLD LLOYD; THE THIRD GENIUS. As an introduction to Lloyd's series of comic gems (like SAFETY LAST, THE FRESHMAN, SPEEDY, and THE KID BROTHER) it was delightful. It showed how Lloyd had spent years, watching the success of Chaplin, in trying to find a proper personae to make his own mark with. His initial character, "Lonesome Luke", was basically Chaplin's tramp with a reversal of characteristics (a mustache with two halves, not one, clothing that was to tight and short rather than too big, etc.). Gradually he began to consider how his character should be normal in appearance and in usual situations. But this normal character, through mishap or chance, would get into dangerous situations (like hanging from a clock on a building when trying to safely climb the side of the building as an advertising stunt). It turned out to be a good choice, and made Lloyd's reputation as a great comic actor. The series also looked into the curious late sound films, and how Lloyd's carefully built film personae could not survive in the sound period. But the best part of the series was the careful discussion of how Lloyd did some of those dangerous stunts. There were always small tricks to lessen the apparent dangers, but he did do his own stunts (and he did them with one hand that was badly disfigured in an accidental explosion that cost him three fingers). Altogether a remarkable story, superbly told.

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