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 muscles to match up to them, so he has to use his wits to win the respect of his strong father and also the love of beautiful Mary.Written by
Ken Yousten <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Even by Harold Lloyd's high standards, this is one of his most entertaining and most imaginative movies. It combines humor and melodrama very well, and it is particularly rich in sight gags, again even by Lloyd's standards. Lloyd has a character that is well suited to his style, and he adds some impressive stunts as well.
As "The Kid Brother", Lloyd's character is the put-upon son of a tough sheriff, with two older, domineering brothers. The story has Harold involved romantically with Jobyna Ralston, who comes to town with a traveling medicine show that the sheriff is trying to shut down. There is also a large sum of money that has been collected for a new dam, and entrusted to the sheriff. There is a lot going on, and Lloyd's character faces challenges and difficulties both from his family and from the villains in the medicine show.
The efforts of Lloyd's character to win the respect of his family give the plot some depth that complements the comedy and melodrama well. The action sequences often combine stunts, drama, and visual comedy at the same time, and there are just enough thoughtful moments to keep the important characters from becoming flat. Constantine Romanoff makes a memorable villain, and the lengthy showdown in the old abandoned ship is a wonderful set piece with lots of interesting details.
It's well worth watching a number of times, in order to catch and enjoy everything that Lloyd and the rest of the cast and crew have packed into less than an hour and a half of running time. How fortunate it is that this and Lloyd's other gems have finally come out on DVD for all of us silent movie fans to enjoy.
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