Harold Lloyd's World of Comedy
At the Exeter
If anyone thinks that today's film "comedy" is funny, he doesn't know what he missed thirty years ago. Harold Lloyd's World of Comedy contains a series of silents and talkies, all of which star the versatile Lloyd himself, and all of which are very funny.
Such sight gags as the football player outwitting the entire onrushing opposition are so original that they are hilarious. With the visual aspect of motion pictures offering so much, one wonders why writers try so hard to work clever lines into modern day comedy. When the silent picture comedies - obviously built around the visual aspect - gave way to the talkies, the devices of slapstick, film speed-up and character expression still lent the most to the humor that was involved.
One of the most amazing characteristics of Lloyd's brand of comedy is his ability to make the most of an absurd situation. The pathetic Harold that tries so hard to commit suicide - unsuccessfully - or bring home an armful of groceries to his wife is great comedy. Even the joy ride in the new Model T with the family is so wrought with misfortune and peculiar circumstance that laughter is uncontrollable.
As the narrative thread of this film reveals that no trick photography was used, one is stunned and then pressed into fits of laughter as he watches the great chase scene to stop a wedding in time. Lloyd jumps from one speeding vehicle to the next, each time missing what could be a devastating wreck.
The famous examples of Lloyd's antics on the outside of a skyscraper is also fantastic to watch. Trapped in a mail sack which is resting dangerously on a painter's scaffold being pulled non-chalantly up the side of the building, Lloyd teeters back and forth, causing the audience to first gasp at the suspense and then roar at the near misses of a fatal plunge to the street below. One wonders how he ever survived the situations he mixed himself up in order to produce such amazing comedy.
One criticism that could be made about this film is that there is almost too much fun and laughter involved each second. Where each segment or individual sequence could be really sidesplitting by itself, the whole series gives the audience too much to take at once. Just the same, this film, pieced together from the past, is a welcome and very enjoyable evening's entertainment.