on 29 January 2007
I bought this DVD collection as a Buster Keaton fan who was mildly interested in Harold Lloyd. I had seen the 3 part documentary years back which hadn't made much of an impact on me and I can remember the BBC2 series with slapstick gags pasted together as being a bit cringeworthy. I'm lucky to have a multiregion DVD so I thought why not. I got the collection and started watching. THe shorts are a mixed bunch from very early slapstick similar in vein to early Arbuckle/Keaton shorts to the latter ones where you can start to see something wonderful coming together. This potential blossoms into some quite beautiful features. Lloyd and his team are in their element. I had heard about Safety Last and The Freshman as being huge hits. They still work really well, they are well paced fresh, funny movies not feeling dated at all. With them are some great lesser known features such as Speedy, Grandmas Boy and The Kid Brother that are as good if not better. These features come over as the work of someone truely at the height of his powers.
I have to bow down to TCM who have put this package together. They have added some great minifeatures and a very useful package of information about the main actors and team who worked around Lloyd. They make the point that the tight obsessional control Lloyd over his work was great for him financially but has meant that very few generations have been exposed to his work. On the positive side this obsessionality has meant that this DVD collection working with Lloyds estate has got just about everything in it a Lloyd fan could hope for. It has the added advantage of having 3 Carl Davies scores and special word must go to Robert Israel who had the mammoth task of scoring all the rest of the films on this compilation.
This compilation really works in making you see that Lloyd easily stands up in comparison to Keaton and Chaplin. If you have a multi region DVD player you should give this compilation some serious thought.
on 4 August 2008
Lloyd fans waited a looooong time for the release of Harold's finest films on DVD, and they didn't wait quietly. Well, the Trust's release, The Harold Lloyd Comedy Collection, is proof that the best things are worth waiting for. Meticulous care has been taken with the films, the scores and the voluminous extras. The commentaries are entertaining and informative, the biographies exhaustive, and the films are beautifully restored and scored. The set is the ultimate bargain for all that is included, especially if you've been saving your pennies during all those years that you've been waiting. Clearly a treasure, and a pleasure to return to time and again.