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06 April 2012

Grandma’s Boy (1922) [Silent Film-a-thon 2] 2#


Directed by: Fred C. Newmeyer
Written by: Hal Roach, Sam Taylor
Genre: Comedy
USA
Black and White, 60 Minutes
In this marathon, I am exploring a lot of silent comedy, and with comedians like Buster Keaton and Harold Lloyd, some of these films remain very much funny and alive. Here, in Grandma’s Boy, we see Harold Lloyd with some Charlie Chaplin influence in his first feature-length comedy. A heartfelt story of a guy down on his luck, with great comedy. Grandma’s Boy may not be outrageously funny or pure genius, but it has some funny gags and a sincere plot that is not original, but very sweet.

We open with a The Kid (1921) inspired scene where we see a boy wearing thin-rimmed glasses (supposedly Lloyd as a child), being bullied by a smaller boy. We then cut to an older version of this character (played by Lloyd of course), were we see him still being bullied by this same other boy. The film follows him as he gains courage by attempting to win the heart of his love interest.


As I said, the plot is not very original and is one of the centre points of 90% of the silent comedies between 1914-1928. However, this is not to say it does not work. Grandma’s Boy is not full of love and sentiment as much as it could have, and there certainly could have been more gags. However, Lloyd’s performance proves strong enough to engage with an audience. His character lacks self-esteem and courage, and by the end of the film, he gains these two traits. Overall, Harold plays a lovable and sweet character.

The story is short, but it is an entertaining one. There are a few great gags in there too. One involves Harold and his rival/bully eating moth balls thinking they are chocolates at the home of their love interest. Here, we see hilarious expressions as they chew in utter disgust, but each time the young woman turns to look at them they quickly smile. This gag is the funniest in the film, and still manages to bring a good belly laugh today.

Verdict: It is not the strong point of Lloyd’s films, but it has an engaging story that is identifiable even today, and still can bring a few laughs.

Rating: 7.5/10

IMDB RATING: 7.1/10
AT IMDB

2 comments:

  1. I'm glad to see Lloyd getting his due alongside Chaplin and Keaton. I'm not sure if you already plan to include them, but I highly recommend Lloyd's Safety Last and The Freshman, and Keaton's Our Hospitality, Seven Chances, and The General.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Safety Last was fantastic! I have also seen The General. The others I plan on seeing, starting with Keatons Hospitality which I have heard is very good. Thanks for reading.

    ReplyDelete

 

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