Thursday 19 June 2008

Ask Father (1919)

In 1919 Harold Lloyd and his co-star Bebe Daniels were a romantic item, but I'm guessing that the real Lloyd didn't have the problems his character here has. The boy, as such he was usually credited when he wasn't Lonesome Luke, is deeply in love but her response to his protestations of love is always the same: ask father. The catch is that her father is an important man who is almost impossible to see.

Given that this is a slapstick era comedy that means that he has a conveyor belt on the floor of his office that escorts people out unceremoniously and a trapdoor in his floor as a backup. Half his office is comprised of thugs that do nothing except throw people out. Yet the boy doesn't give up. This is Harold Lloyd, after all. The comedy naturally has nothing to do with the girl and all about the lengths he takes to get into the man's office to ask father.

It's only 1919 but this is the Harold Lloyd we know well and he's fun to watch. I really must track down some of the Lonesome Luke films, which were a different Lloyd, one very much trying to jump on the little tramp's bandwagon, apparently. The earliest I've seen him was in 1917's All Aboard, which comes right at the tail end of the Lonesome Luke era but he'd made a hundred or so films in the five years before then. Backing him up here is not just Bebe Daniels, but a very recognisable Snub Pollard and apparently Charley Chase, in an unconfirmed role, though I couldn't find him.

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