DVD Review: Speedy is a good Harold Lloyd comedy, a great peek into New York’s past

There’s a startling moment in Speedy, Harold Lloyd’s final silent feature (released this week as part of the Criterion collection), that occurs so quickly one can’t be sure it actually happened without going back and freezing the frame to confirm. Standing before a funhouse mirror, having endured a number of indignities, Lloyd’s trademark “Glasses” character—here nicknamed Speedy, though his real name is revealed on a speeding ticket as Harold Swift (wouldn’t he be “Swifty”?)—sizes up his distorted reflection and then flips himself the bird. Wikipedia’s entry on the film suggests, albeit with no citation at present, that this may be the very first cinematic instance of that particular gesture. Regardless, it’s a surprisingly pungent bit of business for 1928, especially given the generally wholesome nature of Lloyd’s screen persona. And it’s one of several respects in which Speedy feels …

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *