Saturday 21 June 2008

I Do (1921)

How much chaos can Harold Lloyd and Mildred Davis get up to in a 25 minute film? I'd expect the answer to be a heck of a lot, but they start out with an animated wedding ceremony and a huge card reading One Year Later. They have a baby carriage but it's only for means of surreptitiously beating prohibition. However it doesn't take long for them to acquire kids, merely not their own. They belong to the brother-in-law and are credited on the title card not by name but as the Agitation, the Disturbance and the Annoyance. Even without sound, those names are obviously highly appropriate.

In fact, while Harold Lloyd is perfectly fine here and runs through his gags with aplomb, many of those gags involve one of the three kids. It's unfair to say that they steal the show but most slapstick gags work best through anticipation and the kids are integral to the anticipation here. Either they're already doing something horrendous to cause the gag or their reaction to what Lloyd does is the punchline.

It's not a bad film, it's just not as great as usual, partly because of the focus away from Lloyd even when he's on the screen and partly because some of the gags are so routine. There's also little to connect them, unlike most Lloyd shorts. Definitely a weaker Lloyd, especially for 1921. I've seen almost of his films from the twenties and this ties with 1924's Girl Shy as the weakest of them.

No comments: