Always a third wheel trailing after the love-hate Chaplin-Keaton canon scuffle that will doubtlessly rage on into the end times, nerdy goody-goody Harold Lloyd had none of the others’ subversive charisma, but he was a tireless inventor, an eager entertainer, and a master stunt-maker. Boxed together, these films constitute a window on a time when watching a movie—action or comedy or both—meant watching something astonishing happen in real time, without smoke, mirrors, dialogue, or digitals. But silent-comedy fans and Lloydists don’t need to be told—Lloyd isn’t as ubiquitous today because he owned his films, and kept them out of exploitative circulation for years. (During the 1920s, he outshot and outearned Chaplin by more than two to one.) These seven discs could keep you busy till summertime, harboring 15 features, 10 two-reelers, home movies, stills, lobby cards, comparisons between domestic and export prints, location hunts, 3-D photos Lloyd took himself (Lloydish black-rimmed 3-D glasses are included), tributes, interviews, and more. Completists should not overlook Kino’s recent set of Lloyd two-reelers, which includes films not found in the New Line cache.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on November 15, 2005