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Customer reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
Harold Lloyd: The Definitive Collection [DVD]
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Price:£94.99+ £1.26 shipping

HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERon 20 August 2010
If you mention silent film comedians today, most people will immediately think of Charlie Chaplin, closely followed by Buster Keaton. But in the 1920's there was a third big name who was commercially more successful than either - the wonderful Harold Lloyd.

Unfortunately Lloyd kept a very tight reign on the distribution rights for his films, fearing that improper useage would impair his reputation. This meant that whilst Keaton and Chaplin films were freely available long after their filmmaking days had ended, keeping their names alive in the public conscious, the initially successful Harold Lloyd started to drop right off the radar. Which is a shame as he was wonderfully talented and made some absolutely hilarious films with his brand of physical and visual comedy. Not as depressing as Chaplin, or slapstick as Keaton he had a style all of his own which had more of a classy, intelligent feel to it.

Like most other people here I discovered Lloyd through a television series in the late `80s, during my school holidays. They were a revelation, and I wanted to see more. But they were never repeated, and there were no video releases that I could find. There have been some sporadic DVD releases, but never anything that has done the man and his art justice. They often had odd music, bad restoration, incorrect running speeds and cropping that really made Lloyds fears about poor representation of his work seem justified.

Now, finally, this magnificent set has been produced. Overseen by Suzanne Lloyd, Harold's granddaughter, it is a marvel. It contains, I think, all of Lloyd's surviving silent films (sadly many were lost in a fire at his house in 1943) and five of his seven talkies. The films are listed in other reviews which I will not repeat. The restoration on each is a wonder to behold. The image on some seems so sharp and clear it looks as though it was filmed yesterday. The usual annoying jumps, jerks and blemishes have been taken out, and the films run at their correct speed. Added to this are the sympathetic scores from Carl Davis and Robert Israel. Much care has been taken with each score to match the mood and pace of the action on screen, and these really do add immeasurably to the viewing enjoyment.

The 29 films are presented on 9 discs in slimline cases, all held in a sturdy card slipcase. There is a wealth of extras on the discs, commentaries, documentaries and the like which I have not had a chance to view yet. An added bonus is in the case of disc one - 6 prints of photos of Marilyn Monroe taken by Lloyd, who was a keen photographer.

This is an excellent set, and one that finally does the great man justice. 5 stars, no hesitation.
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on 14 May 2011
Sadly TV does not seem to embrace black and white and especially silent films these days like it once did, so its rare to see any classic material which is a real shame as laughter never really goes out of fashion, even after almost 100 years in the film can.

Harold Lloyd is an outstanding performer and maybe one can say not just an actor but almost an acrobat and stuntman in his own right.

These films of which many are silent (remember it comes with a music track, so its never truly silent with no sound at all) are a treat to own and watch, they are truly very, very funny, in fact I probably laughed more at some of these than I have during some more modern comedy films, so don't let any of the silent or black and white tags put you off, these ARE worth your time watching.

I fear people see the silent or black and white tags and shy away. If you watch a black and white film, you brain fills in the colour, you imagine, you know in your own mind what colours things would be...in fact YOUR colour, in your mind, is what you would prefer to see, so in a way its more perfect that if it WERE in colour, the same is true of silent films. You have a music track to convey emotion such as sadness, joy, peril, etc. and you often get cards if people are speaking, so you never miss out, anything not said is often mouthed and your mind again like black and white, fills in the blanks, only they are English or Swedish or Dutch or Geordie or Scottish or BBC English, its your mind, the film comes out your way, which is rather nice :-)

My copy came with some postcard type pictures that Harold Lloyd took of Marilyn Monroe which are a nice extra, limited edition so don't know if everyone will get these.
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on 13 January 2010
I recently purchased this boxed set of the Harold Lloyd films without knowing much about him. Like most I only remembered that unforgettable scene where he is hanging from the clock face in "Safety Last". But what a wonderful surprise!! This turned out to be the best value-for-money set of DVDs that I have ever bought! The quality of these films is amazing in every aspect. Whilst having great respect for Chaplin and what he achieved in the early days of cinema I think he is very over-rated. Laurel & Hardy? Well, they are an institution and stand supreme in the vaudeville tradition.
But having immersed myself now in the Harold Lloyd brand of humour I can recognise him as an outstanding genius in a class of his own. His performance is always highly polished. The films are well-constructed with never a dull moment as they build to their hilarious finales. My favourite is "Girl Shy" which features a chase lasting about 15 minutes which makes the French Connection and its modern offspring look like box cart rallies for the under fives!
In addition to the films there are many very interesting and informative featurettes, including commentaries on the main feature films which helps to give them a sense of present-day realism even though the films are almost 100 years old.
If you have any interest at all in early twentieth century cinema then don't hesitate to buy this and for its current price on Amazon it is a bargain!
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on 12 January 2012
I had my eye on this boxset before Christmas when it was £15 and so when I saw it on sale for £8.50 I jumped at the chance. What a bargain! This boxset contains all of Harold's feature films (including talkies) and many short films. There are also lots of extras - documentaries about Harold; bio's of some of his co-stars and some lovely home movies (which Harold got his Studio cameramen to film for him).

I'm still working my way through the 9 discs. I've watched about 1/3rd so far. The films are in great condition - restored with orchestral soundtracks that really complement the films.

I used to watch Harold when I was a child as they showed clips of his films in the school holidays. It's great to see the actual films. Harold is still as charming and funny as I remember him. Hooray!
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on 5 June 2011
Just watched the first DVD in this series, which has just arrived.
I haven't laughed so much since Tom and Jerry in my childhood.
There is so much to watch in these superbly restored movies.
You tend to forget how much more facial expressions and actions have to be used in silent movies to get the storyline across to its fullest extent.
Some of the captions between scenes are in themselves hillarious.
LLoyd was a master of stunts (which I suspect would not be allowed by the health and safety brigade these days)that keep you on the edge of your seat.
I also found the scenes of historical interest. The trams and vintage cars.
They looked to have traffic congestion in the twenties as well as today!
Nine DVD's for £[]! This set has got to be a bargain!
For anyone interested in vintage movies this set is a must.
8 more discs to go,I can't wait to see the rest.
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on 31 January 2011
I have been a fan of Harold Lloyd since I watched him on BBC2 when I was young, I always knew he was a huge star, but I didn't know he was the biggest and richest star in Hollywood in the 1920's. Interestingly it seems that during the 50's and 60's when television made huge stars all again of people like Laurel and Hardy, Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton, The Three Stooges etc, Harold Lloyd refused to allow his films to be shown for fear of how they would be recieved, as a result he "became lost" to a whole new generation of fans. It was only after his death in 1971 that the real revival came about.
As a result anyone in the UK who is thinking of buying this box set is probably over 30 and nostalgicly remembers "Harold Lloyd's World of Comedy" on BBC2 in 1970's and 1980's with the catchy theme tune "Hooray for Harold Lloyd". I myself got my introduction to Harold Lloyd this way, and I also remember the brief Ch4 revival in the early 1990's when a few of his feature films were shown along with the excellent 2 part documentary "Harold Lloyd - The Third Genius".
This box set has all the major features and shorts (bar the last two talkies) but it is also choc full of extras, including important archive materials such as interviews with Lloyd himself, film commentarys, in depth interviews with Lloyd's daughter and grandaughter, as well as important friend and Lloyd expert Rich Correll.
I deduct 1 star simply because of the musical arrangements. A good film score can turn an average silent comedy into a good one and vice versa, in my opinion the scoring by Robert Israel can at times be a little "overpowering" often the music doesn't fit the action and the viewer often feels they are attending a classical concert at The Royal Albert Hall.
However, in my opinion Lloyd's best films are:
1) For the quintesential image of Lloyd hanging on the clock, SAFETY LAST.
2) A favourite with everybody, THE FRESHMAN. On this my first viewing I was an instant convert!
3) THE KID BROTHER, great character casting, great musical score by Carl Davis, the final 30 mins you will watch again and again!
4) Lloyd's talkies often recieve a slating, however it is impressive the way Lloyd changed his "style" from the slapstick of the silents to the situational comedy of sound, a few of these are very underated, in the particular I found THE CATS PAW to be a real hidden gem!
In short do not hestitate to buy this Box Set.Believe me, if you can be bothered to look for Harold Lloyd on Amazon this is the collection you want, you won't be disappointed! More importantly the fan base is shrinking! Lloyd and others like him will only be remembered as long as they are shown on TV, and unfortunately in this era that is less and less, Lloyd deserves to be remembered, so if you care enough buy it, but also buy it and show it to your kids, your friends, anybody you'll be surprised at how many new fans will be made, you won't regret it!
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on 5 August 2008
I was lambasted by my family for purchasing this DVD box as I had already possessed US version of this for about 3years .

Then why did I lay out money on this again? The reason is that of course I am an ardent admirer of Lloyd and this UK version is superior to its US counterpart in that it carries Lloyd's commemorative first talkie called "Welcome Danger" produced in 1929.

Now that I've enjoyed what I had long wanted to, I can say that it was worth getting it.

Living in Japan I don't have to use special device to watch this DVD box as my country shares the same region code for DVD with the UK.

However I only give four stars to evaluate. Why? Well,it is because unlike the US version, each film is not accompanied by English subtitles and thus I find, as a non-native speaker of English, it is very disappointing and inconvenient the omission of English subtitles forbids me full appreciation of the talkies.
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VINE VOICEon 27 January 2012
This is a fantastic film collection that is well worth taking time to watch, if you view the films one after another you get a little blasé and don't fully appreciate the quality and pure genius comic timing that made each one a gem.

Some of the films such as Safety Last have bonus commentaries that give an amazing insight into how exactly some of the daring action scenes were filmed.

Harold Lloyd was an amazing comedian and film maker and this collection shows his best work in really good picture quality.
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on 24 July 2007
When I was a kid there used to be 20 minute compilations of Harold LLoyd movies...on BBC2 I think. I remember them cropping up during school holidays. Maybe you remember them too? "Hooray for Harold Lloyd!" went the memorable theme tune. Although looking back, I don't think I had a proper appreciation of the talent on show, I really do remember enjoying these short programmes of clips. So much so, that Lloyd's name and image stayed with me from those days (20+ years ago).

From time to time over more recent years I have logged into Amazon and other sites on the off-chance of finding his material on DVD. Having read the rave reviews of the American release of this collection I looked forward to the British release. In the meantime I bought Jeffrey Vance's book (which is outstandingly good). My appetite well and truly whetted, I pre-ordered this collection. Imagine my frustration when the release was put back from May to July!

Anyway, it was worth the wait! Having already accumulated knowledge about Harold Lloyd (through the afformentioned book) I have begun to properly discover the immense talent within this fascinating man. The films contained in this collection are not all great, but all are enjoyable. The Freshman, Speedy, Girl Shy, Grandma's Boy, Safety Last, The Kid Brother, Dr. Jack...I could go on but his best features stand comparison with anything produced then or since. The sight gags and visual humour are absolutley timeless in my opinion and you will laugh out-loud, believe me. The shorts move at a generally quicker pace and contain some wonderful sequences. The features appear to me to have been very carefully crafted and many allow space for Lloyd to develop character elements very satisfyingly. Lloyd was a good actor and arguably more versatile than his contemporaries; his "glasses" character allowed him great freedom and his characters appear natural within their stroylines.

Having now read lots about Lloyd I think it is fair to say he was not a "funny man" as such. I think his contribution transcended a particular role or function; everything was agreed and approved by him; ownership of the films was his; the risks were his own, as were the rewards.

The extra features in this collection are all worthwhile...some of the home movies are delightful. Harold Lloyd emerges, in my opinion, as a great and interesting man, clearly loved by those that knew him.
Technically, the films here are somewhat variable; picture quality is never anything less than acceptable and is often exteremely good. The music works very well indeed and complements the images rather than distracting from them.

I cannot recommend this collection highly enough. I think informed opinion now places him amongst the ranks of the very best film-makers. To understand why, buy this box-set! Thanks for reading.
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on 23 March 2013
This guy was an absolute genius, far superior to Chaplain. The stunts are truly amazing, the stories original (although he always gets his girl at the end) and the quality is superb given the age of these films. Unique in every respect, this is a collection for the true Harold Lloyd fan.
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