Wednesday, July 6, 2011

"...the boy in the horn-rimmed glasses."

Grandma's Boy (1922)
Friday July 8, 7.30pm, Kenyon Hall, Seattle

Of all his films, Harold Lloyd considered Grandma's Boy (1922) his personal favorite. The second of eleven silent features starring Lloyd, it was the story of a kind-hearted boy, convinced of his own cowardice, but driven by his determination to marry the girl he loves. He suffers humiliation at the hands of his rival, played by long-time Lloyd and Roach regular Charles Stevenson, and a brutish hobo who terrorizes the town. Harold lives with his adorable old Grandma (Anna Townsend), who dotes on the boy and laments his failures, "Poor Sonny – There ought to be some way to help him." In the end, she does find a way, giving Harold the confidence to battle his demons with hilarious and spectacular results. Never reluctant to be upstaged for the sake of a good picture, even by babies or animals, Harold shares the screen with a colorful cast of local townsfolk, and a generous compliment of cows, chickens, horses, pigs, puppies and kittens, all put to good use in a well developed sequence of sentimental and humorous scenes. Mildred Davis, in her thirteenth of fifteen films with Lloyd, plays the girl, a bundle of blond curls and lace, sweet on the boy and not afraid to show it. When Harold comes calling she plays the family organ, but its merely an excuse to sing, "I love you – I love you – I love you." This film may best exploit the "candy box prettiness" biographer Tom Dardis described in the future Mrs. Lloyd. Grandma's Boy includes the standard Lloyd fare: break-neck chases (by any means), a colossal fight, and wonderfully entertaining intertiles from the always-undervalued H. M. "Beany" Walker. Careful notice of The Rolling Stone character, a malevolent hobo played by Dick Sutherland, reveal the obvious influence on a popular green troll seen in current animated features. Other beautifully added touches to the film include, a kicking mule in a punchbowl, a frightened goose peeking around a corner, mothballs inadvertently placed in a box of candy, a litter of kittens menaced by a china dog, and Grandma's brief but priceless celebration jig.

West Seattle's Kenyon Hall presents Harold Lloyd in Grandma's Boy (1922), with live musical accompaniment performed by returning pianist Donald Sosin at the Chickering grand.

1 comment:

  1. Donald opens the San Francisco Silent Film Festival with John Ford's Upstream (1927) on Friday July 14 at the Castro Theater.