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Speedy (1928)

Passed | | Action, Comedy, Family | 7 April 1928 (USA)
Harold "Speedy" Swift, a fan of Babe Ruth and the New York Yankees, saves from extinction the city's last horse-drawn trolley, operated by his girlfriend's grandfather.

Director:

Ted Wilde

Writers:

John Grey (story), Lex Neal (story) | 1 more credit »
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Nominated for 1 Oscar. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Harold Lloyd ... Harold 'Speedy' Swift
Ann Christy ... Jane Dillon
Bert Woodruff ... Pop Dillon - Jane's Grand-daddy
Babe Ruth ... Babe Ruth
Byron Douglas ... W.S. Wilton
Brooks Benedict ... Steve Carter
King Tut the Dog King Tut the Dog ... The Dog
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Storyline

"Speedy" loses his job as a soda-jerk, then spends the day with his girl at Coney Island. He then becomes a cab driver and delivers Babe Ruth to Yankee Stadium, where he stays to see the game. When the railroad tries to run the last horse-drawn trolley (operated by his girl's grandfather) out of business, "Speedy" organizes the neighborhood oldtimers to thwart their scheme. Written by Herman Seifer <alagain@aol.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

LLOYD'S LATEST (original print ad - all caps) See more »

Genres:

Action | Comedy | Family

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

7 April 1928 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

O Ás da Velocidade See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Silent

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Filmed extensively on location in New York City. The slums scenes, however, were built and shot on a backlot in Los Angeles. See more »

Goofs

When Harold is driving the trolley down the street, the cop on the sidewalk walks away from the "Guilt Edge Creamery" milk store twice. See more »

Quotes

Title Card: When a boy loses his job, buys a new suit and takes a girl to Coney Island, he's either insane or in love - - and there's not much difference.
See more »

Alternate Versions

In 1992, The Harold Lloyd Trust and Photoplay Productions presented a 85-minute version of this film in association with Thames Television International and Channel Four, with a musical score written by Carl Davis. The addition of modern credits stretched the time to 86 minutes. See more »

Connections

Referenced in I Graduated, But... (1929) See more »

Soundtracks

Speedy Boy
Written by Jesse Greer and Raymond Klages
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Broadway Melody Minus Noise
15 February 2011 | by slokesSee all my reviews

The last Harold Lloyd silent comedy, "Speedy" is a yuk-filled feature boasting some impressive thrill scenes and Jazz Age Manhattan ambiance. If not as satisfying as some earlier Lloyd silents, it manages to showcase just why Lloyd was the most popular of the big three silent clowns.

Harold plays the title character, who may have gotten his name from undiagnosed ADD. Speedy flits from job to job while he dreams of baseball and his girl Jane (Ann Christy). Jane wants to marry Speedy, but first there's the business of her grandfather's horse-drawn trolley, which a greedy railway magnate wants to put out of business any way he can.

As other commenters here point out, this is less a unified film than a sequence of four shorts stitched together as follows: 1. Harold the soda jerk. 2. Harold and Jane at Coney Island. 3. Harold the taxi driver. 4. Harold saves Pop's trolley. The only serious concession to "Speedy's" feature length is that some business of short #4 is introduced between shorts #1 and #2.

Add to that the hit-or-miss gagginess of much of the film, and what you wind up with is less satisfying than Lloyd classics like "The Freshman" or "The Kid Brother." Even early Lloyd features like "Grandma's Boy" or "Dr. Jack" had loftier goals than the laugh-driven "Speedy". Yet "Speedy" is funny most of the time, and does work in some other ways, too.

Though I'm not a Yankees fan, I'm a sucker with any movie that features Babe Ruth. Here, in a cameo, he does excellent work as a passenger afraid for his life getting a mad cab ride from the star-struck Speedy.

"Even when you strike out, you miss 'em close," Speedy enthuses, eyes on Babe and not the road.

"I don't miss 'em half as close as you do!" Babe yells back.

It's cool just seeing these two icons share the screen, and if you watch just before the 53rd minute, you'll see a third icon, Lou Gehrig, slip into the background during a Harold-Babe two-shot and proceed to stick his tongue out at the camera!

As fun as moments like that are, "Speedy" doesn't add up to the sum of its parts until the final third, when we resume the story of Pop's horse-drawn trolley. There we get a fitting capper to Lloyd's silent-clown career, with a hilarious street battle between young toughs and old coots fought with flypaper, horseshoes, and a pegleg, among other implements. Then there's the final trolley ride, which employs a horrific-looking real accident to create some tension over the question of whether Harold will save the day.

Like many note, "Speedy" is as captivating for what you see in the background. So much of it was shot for real in Manhattan, and even when there's no comically rude Hall-of-Fame first basemen in sight, there's a lot of energy and activity on view, whether its tugboats on the Hudson, taxis on Times Square, or street urchins ingenuously looking at the camera wondering what's up. The Coney Island sequence is the most labored part of the film for me, but it's still not only inventively played out but especially edifying for those of us who wonder what amusement parks were like before the age of the steel roller-coaster or more stringent safety regulations.

Lloyd and director Ted Wilde knew what the audience wanted, and deliver it here with a cherry on top. If not quite as on the money after more than 80 years, "Speedy" is still well worth watching for fans of Lloyd and silent comedy.


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