Here’s your chance to see some of Harold Lloyd’s greatest films
by Martin Hafer
Many months ago, I wrote a series of articles about some wonderful silent films stars and their timeless movies. One of them, and perhaps the best, is Harold Lloyd…but his films were out of circulation for many years. It’s because unlike Chaplin and Keaton, Lloyd owned most of his films and he kept them in a vault…pristine and waiting to be introduced to a new generation of fans. After his death in 1971, his movies just sat there…out of public view until 2005 when his family finally decided the time was right to release the films once again. A wonderful mega-set of films came out at that time…and they were quickly snatched up by folks who remembered who this great silent comedian was. But here’s the problem….the set has been out of print for years and getting a copy is extremely expensive. Currently on Amazon, the set sells for about $500. The only way you could hope to get the set is to pay $90 and get films which are described as only being in ‘good’ condition! So what’s a person to do?!
Fortunately, your problem is being rectified. Although they are not releasing every one of Lloyd’s films yet, you can now get all his best as well as many of his short films from iTunes. They retail for $14.99 for the High Definition versions, $11.99 for Standard Definition as well as $3.99 /$2.99 for rental. If I were you, I’d strongly consider buying the films for a varietyof reasons. First and foremost, the full-length Lloyd films are treasures and represent his very best work. In fact, every film I recommended in my previous article are available for $14.99-11.99 each–a rather reasonable price. I have watched the iTunes versions and they are pristine–very high quality prints with excellent musical scores. You cannot get better quality versions and Lloyd’s films are at least the equals to the best of Chaplin and Keaton…and they are timeless.
But where to start? After all, iTunes has seven of his full-length films and two collections of his shorts. My advice is save the shorts for later. They’re very good, but Lloyd was at his best when he made his full-length films and they are truly works of art. If you haven’t seen his films before, I would suggest you start with Safety Last!, as it’s his most familiar film and you’ve no doubt seen pictures of Lloyd precariously hanging from a huge clock while climbing to the top of some skyscraper. I also strongly recommend The Freshman and The Kid Brother and Speedy. Neither of these three films have quite the number of thrills of laughs as Safety Last! but they are much more beautiful and soulful films and are probably my two favorites. Then, in descending order, I’d buy Dr. Jack, Why Worry? and For Heaven’s Sake. You can’t do wrong with any of these…and then try the shorts.
You can find this fine collection of Harold Lloyd films on iTunes here: https://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/harold-lloyd/id376366695