Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Harold Lloyd Interview

It turns out the thread involving interviews with the great comedians of silent movies will be another brief one; while Chaplin and Keaton wrote memoirs, Harry Langdon, Charley Chase and Edgar Kennedy all passed away in the 1940's, so no interviews of them appear to exist (certainly no extensive ones), outside of some Hollywood trade paper and newspaper articles. The urban legend goes that Jerry Lewis spent quite a bit of time with both Chaplin and Stan Laurel, but one suspects that whatever was said between them will remain confidential.

The great Harold Lloyd, whose films are still unequaled in their blend of comedy and thrills with the action hero ethos, periodically made public appearances at screenings of his great 1920's features, and also released feature-length compilations of excerpts from his classic movies.

Here's Harold in 1962, interviewed by Harry Reasoner on CBS-TV interview. Enjoy.


Anonymous said...

I heart Harold Lloyd.

paul etcheverry said...

I agree - Harold Lloyd's films, especially his features, wear very well. He is a singular and interesting figure among the silent era comedians. Unlike Chaplin, Keaton and Langdon, he did not enter movies after years as a huge star on stage. HL developed his character, learning as he went along, in movies. Keaton and Lloyd actually got better and refined their visions in feature films, even more than Chaplin did.

On the other hand, I'm not so sure Langdon and Laurel & Hardy actually developed their characters or essential concepts in feature-length movies any farther than they did in their amazingly funny short subjects. Their features are more like three or four shorts strong together.

Tom said...

Wow. This interview is fascinating. Thanks for posting this. He lived a very long life.

paul etcheverry said...

Thanks, Tom! It's the epitome of big screen fun at the movies to see one of Harold's best - For Heaven's Sake,The Kid Brother, Speedy - with a packed audience and stirring orchestral accompaniment. Harold clearly studied what works or doesn't work with an audience and determined exactly where the laughs come, so his films still really rock the house.

The only "what might have been" one can observe about HL's screen comedy career was that his last transformation in the 30's, which produced The Cat's Paw and The Milky Way, did not continue and lead to a series of original story-driven comedies with dramatic overtones. Perhaps deferring to the directors - Hawks, Lubitsch, LaCava, Capra, Wilder, Cukor etc. - who could helm such films simply would not have suited Harold. It's also quite possible that by the time he made Professor Beware in 1938, Harold concluded he'd worked his tail off long enough and was ready to call it a day in showbiz.