Sunday, September 7, 2008

Speedy (1928) Film Review - Cinecon 44 Screening

Plot Summary - Silent comedy filmed in New York City and starring Harold Lloyd as Speedy, he has a girlfriend named Jane (Ann Cristy) and he loves the Yankees more than any job he ever has (which is plenty). Jane's grand-daddy, Pop Dillon, owns the last horse-drawn street trolley in NYC, and some bad men are trying to push the old guy into selling his business - but he won't budge. Meanwhile Speedy loses his job as a soda jerk, but doesn't care - 'cause after all, why worry about losing a job on Saturday when you can take your girl to Coney Island on Sunday?! A fun time is had at Coney Island including lots of food, games, and fun house attractions - they even meet up with a stray dog who ends up coming home with them (in the back of a moving truck as they have run out of funds by the end of the day). Next day Speedy gets a job driving a taxicab and following troubles and lots of comedic gags, he ends up taking Babe Ruth, in person, to Yankee stadium. Grand-daddy Pop must drive his trolley route once every twenty-four hours or risk losing the line - the bad guys find this out and steal the trolley car, but in the big finale Speedy gets it and races it through the city streets to save the day, with the help of some old-timers/Civil War veterans.

Review - This is a terrific and highly amusing silent comedy - Harold Lloyd is my favorite silent comedian and I have seen this particular film probably close to fifteen times before, but the Cinecon screening featured a restored print that looked really great on the big screen. The orchestral score which accompanies the film was done by favorite Carl Davis, it's fantastic and suits the film to a tea. Luckily I already own the DVD of this version - hurrah! My most favorite part of the film is when they go to Coney Island, the whole segment features one funny gag after another - and I love seeing those early days of amusement parks and the neat rides and attractions they had then. Okay, I'm always intrigued when I see that spinning wood wheel (a wee bit of internet research by me has come up with "The Human Roulette Wheel" as the name of this - cool) that funhouse-goers used to sit on and get spun off of - I have always wondered if people broke an arm or leg sometimes riding that thing; looks fun anyway. Love the tons of on-location street scenes of NYC in this film - not to mention seeing Babe Ruth in this, who appears as himself. Rating - 10/10 stars

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