Harold Lloyd is coming. Well, not Harold himself (he's been gone since 1971), but his films are.
The Australian Cinematheque in South Brisbane, Queensland, will be showing two weeks of Lloyd films from July 7 to 21. If you've never experienced a Lloyd film -- especially with an audience -- you're in for a treat. He was a splendid comedian (the equal of Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton, though his persona was decidedly different) who did his own stunts, simultaneously thrilling and chilling fans. His gags were wonderfully drawn out, and his best films hold up well, even though a majority are now more than 85 years old.
I imagine that Carole Lombard was a fan of his work during her teenage years, and they probably knew each other during the 1930s when Lloyd worked at Paramount.
A total of 25 films are being shown during this retrospective; you can see the complete schedule at https://qag.qld.gov.au/cinematheque/coming_soon/harold_lloyd. Some of my favorites:
"Get Out And Get Under" (1920) -- This two-reeler shows Lloyd's problems with his car, problems likely shared by many of his fellow motorists at the time (though few handled them so comically). He also has some charming scenes with a young black boy, who's given a relatively benign screen treatment for the time. Probably my favorite Lloyd short. (The title is derived from a then-popular song about motoring.)
"Safety Last" (1923) -- The above image is iconic, the film probably Lloyd's best known. What's amazing about his stunts is that he did them with an artificial hand after an accident with a bomb in 1918. This comedy classic, where Lloyd's character has to fill in for a "human fly," has plenty more to offer than this famous scene.
"Girl Shy" (1924) -- Not as well known, but arguably even better than "Safety Last," this film stars Lloyd as a bumpkin who tries to stop his girlfriend from marrying a bigamist. The chase scene is a gem, as Harold uses several transport modes (car, police car, firetruck, trolley, motorcycle, horse wagon) to get to the wedding.
"Speedy" (1928) -- Speaking of horse-drawn wagons, Lloyd plays the owner of New York's last horse trolley, a baseball fanatic who has to take his idol (Babe Ruth) to Yankee Stadium, then but five years old. (The old ballpark's site is virtually razed now, with the new Stadium a block north.) There are plenty gags and wonderful on-scene New York photography, just as Lloyd's Hollywood films took advantage of 1920s Los Angeles locations.
The good news for us non-Australians is that virtually all of Lloyd's films have been reissued on DVD, lovingly done with first-class prints and all sorts of extras. If you've never experienced Lloyd's genius, or would like to see more of it, by all means do so.