After numerous failed attempts to commit suicide, our hero (Lloyd) runs into a lawyer who is looking for a stooge to stand in as a groom in order to secure an inheritance for his client (... See full summary »
After a wild bachelor party, our hero finds himself aboard a sailing vessel where he encounters numerous adventures. In a dream sequence, he fantasizes that the ship is seized by a band of female pirates.
The young couple have decided to marry and it is time to ask the father for the hand of his daughter. Problem is, the father does not want to give the daughter away. So every time he goes ... See full summary »
Once a year the fair comes for one day to the little town 'Sainte-Severe-sur-Indre'. All inhabitants are scoffing at Francois, the postman, what he seems not to recognize. The rising of the... See full summary »
A mild-mannered young man has left home, and is now playing the piano in a bar in the west. The dangerous criminal Dagger-Tooth Dan enters the bar where the young man is playing. Soon ... See full summary »
A reconstruction of the trial of Joan of Arc (based entirely on the transcripts of the real-life trial), concerning Joan's imprisonment, interrogation and final execution at the hands of ... See full summary »
As a group of traveling players are about to arrive at the opera house where they have their next engagement, the manager of the house is in the process of venting his frustrations with his crew. Harold, one of the stage hands, takes a liking to one of the dancers, and he willingly helps her with her baggage - until he realizes that one of her props is a live snake, which causes turmoil when he allows it to get loose. Then, when the show begins, Harold ends up causing further disruptions.Written by
Backstage with Harold & the gang, trying to work up some laughs
For the most part Harold Lloyd's early short films are enjoyable, and a few of them are little gems, but Ring Up the Curtain is not one of his better surviving works. Our setting is a small town theater where Harold is the resident stage hand and jack-of-all-trades, and when a touring troupe of players featuring Bebe Daniels blows into town he is determined to make time with her. That's about it for plot. Normally I enjoy any comedy with a theatrical setting, but this is a perfunctory effort, mildly diverting but disappointing over all; it's Harold on Auto-Pilot.
On the plus side, we have the rich backstage atmosphere of a small town vaudeville house. The setting alone will interest theater buffs, but better examples are offered in a number of silent comedies more enjoyable than this one, such as Roscoe Arbuckle's two-reeler Back Stage, co-starring Buster Keaton, and Keaton's subsequent solo classic The Playhouse. In Lloyd's Ring Up the Curtain, once you get past the period charm, the gags are pretty random. For example: when a midget actor enters, he is immediately trampled; then when a hefty man enters, he is immediately punched in the stomach. There's no reason for any of it, we don't know who they are, and we don't see them again. It happens because midgets and fat guys are funny, I guess, and besides, nothing else that occurs in this film is motivated, either. Everyone seems to be straining hard for laughs. Much is made of a snake discovered in one of the dressing rooms -- the actors run around looking terrified (although the snake appears quite sleepy-looking and harmless), because that's what you do when a snake is found in a short like this one. Harold attempts to charm the snake, Hindu-style, but the sequence sputters out without much of a punchline. Snub Pollard has a brief bit on-stage that I found more interesting than the backstage shenanigans, but it's over in a blink. After a while we no longer care about these characters; the comic sequences aren't developed in a way that engages the viewer, and then, to top it all off, the bizarre closing gag is in poor taste.
Harold Lloyd is great in An Eastern Westerner, High and Dizzy, and lots of other shorts he made once he hit his stride, but Ring Up the Curtain doesn't show him off to best advantage. According to a reference work on Lloyd, this movie marked his 135th starring film for the Rolin Company, as the Hal Roach Studio was known at the time. Perhaps Harold and his crew needed a vacation.
6 of 7 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
| Report this