Last Saturday was more than the normal Saturday night films in Niles. It was a packed house for a special presentation of Harold Lloyd films with author John Bengston talking about his research discovering old Hollywood through the films of Harold Lloyd (he's also done the same for the films of Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton). You can get more out of the talk if you know the territory of Los Angeles and the environs today (I really don't), but it's still pretty interesting, showing what corners show up in multiple movies. Showing a chase down a street that's really shot both ways on the same street. Or how Lloyd got the dizzying skyscraper scenes by filming on a set he built on top of Court Hill.
Which brings me to the first film, NEVER WEAKEN (1921). Lloyd drums up business for his girlfriend's boss's business. Enough that they can get married. But he overhears her talking to someone else about getting married (turns out it's her brother, fresh from the seminary and ready to preside over the ceremony) and so he resolves to end his life. Doesn't quite succeed, but he does end up on the girders of an skyscraper in the process of being built. Wackiness undoubtedly ensues. I've seen this several times, and this thrill comedy always gets my sense of agoraphobia. Awesome.
Then an intermission, and on to the feature film, GIRL SHY (1924). Lloyd plays a shy young man, who has studied females from afar and the more he has learned the more afraid he has become. But that hasn't stopped his fantasies, in fact he's written a book on "How to Make Love" (that meant something different back then--just wooing, not "woo-hoo"-ing). On the train to the big city to meet a publisher he ends up meeting a girl he can actually talk to! He should latch on to her and never let go, of course, but as it happens there are plenty of obstacles to overcome and wacky hijinx must ensue before he gets the girl (Harold Lloyd always gets the girl). Very funny.
Total Running Time: 99 minutes
My Total Minutes: 247,237