Funny thing: you already know Harold Lloyd. Forgotten as a spare tyre on the silent-era funbus motored by Chaplin and Keaton, Lloyd has been hanging by his hands from that giant clockface high above the street for nearly a century.
Now, for 50 quid, you get everything that matters on Harold Lloyd – nine discs, 10 shorts, 15 features and one of the most incredible finales in cinema history. The daredevil pay-off to Safety Last!’s immaculate slapstick and physical comedy, Lloyd’s skyscraping clocktower climax is as heartstopping as humour gets.
He never came close to Chaplin and Keaton’s subversive charm, but Lloyd’s irrepressible ‘glasses character’ – part nerdy go-getter, part stuntmaster – owned the roaring ’20s. Hurdling every obstacle in his path with breathless ingenuity, he chimed perfectly with pre-Crash America, making more films and more cash than The Tramp.
Sure, there are duffers here, but Lloyd’s best films remain fresh and funny. His split-second timing and delightful invention dazzle as we follow his break-out from Chaplin rip-offs ( Grandma’s Boy) through silent glory ( The Freshman and The Kid Brother) before fading ( Welcome Danger) as the Depression took him with it. Extras are superb: a Safety Last! commentary, home movies, interviews, tributes and more covering Lloyd’s career, relationships, and – our favourite – his obsession with nude photography.