Next Tuesday afternoon, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art will spotlight the high-energy high jinks of Harold Lloyd, as two of the silent comedian’s most beloved classics, The Freshman and Speedy, play back-to-back in the Bing Theater. With 1925’s The Freshman, Lloyd made the biggest box-office splash of his illustrious career, throwing himself into the role of a college freshman who, try as he might, keeps failing to impress his new peers—that is, until he pulls off a Hail Mary triumph on the gridiron. Three years later, Lloyd would don his trademark horn-rims for Speedy, his final silent feature. Adapting his irrepressible everyman persona to the streets of New York, the actor appears here as an underemployed self-starter who seeks to save the modernizing city’s last horsecar line (and just so happens to get the girl in the process). Lloyd—who not only played scrappy go-getters on-screen but boasted a bootstraps biography of his own, having risen to fame and fortune from a modest midwestern upbringing—“embodied the spirit of the American dream that any average individual with gumption could attain success,” writes critic Phillip Lopate in his liners for our edition of Speedy.
Two Stark Visions of the American Underbelly Hit the Big Screen
A new restoration of the groundbreaking vérité documentary Streetwise joins its companion piece, Tiny: the Life of Eric Blackwell, at New York’s Metrograph theater this weekend.