[BOOKS] ✸ Harold Lloyd: The Man on the Clock By Tom Dardis – Saudionline.co.uk

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10 thoughts on “Harold Lloyd: The Man on the Clock

  1. says:

    Tom Dardis explores the life and career of the famous bespectacled comedian He was not a perfect man, but he was certainly an interesting one, and this is a well written volume, even handed in its approach and very easy to read.

  2. says:

    I don t care if Harold Lloyd s comedy is described as mechanicalor not in the same lofty class as Chaplin or Keaton he reallymakes me laugh, really hard whether he is the rattled husbandwho takes his in laws for a ride in his new car and comes backfrom the same ride in a wreck Hot Water , battling with packages and a live turkey on a crowded trolley Hot Water again , wanting desperately to be liked and popular by collegeprats in The Freshman fortunately beautiful Jobyna Ralstonwas on hand to bring him down to earth , just about every minute of Girl Shy and of course those glorious chases in ForHeaven s Sake It doesn t even matter to me that he was not sucha wonderful person his films were his legacy This book wasan impulse buy as soon as I realised that Tom Dardis was the writer, that was good enough for me.Lloyd couldn t draw on the pathos and poverty of Chaplin or theknockabout vaudeville or abusive childhood of Keaton but he coulddraw on his background of small town life and he did in almostevery film Although in most of his interviews he describedhimself as a typical American freckled faced kid the first chapteris called Tom Sawyer s Younger Brother Dardis uncovers the factthat his family moved constantly from one small town to anotherdue to his father s disastrous head for business as he plungedhis capital into one hairbrain scheme after another His mothergrew to loathe his father so much that when Lloyd married MildredDavis in the early 1920s his parents weren t invited Lloyd saidhe was too scared of the consequences if they happened to find themselves in the same room together Harold s relationship withhis father nicknamed Foxy and who sent beautiful letters ofencouragement to Harold until he died was very close.Lloyd started out in Hollywood as Lonesome Luke one of the manyChaplin imitators but he was always enterprising and wanted tocreate a new character and with his glass character he reallystood out and fans of the time 1918,1919 noticed and praised himin their fan mail.What set Lloyd apart from Keaton though they were good friends was his business sense he created a family trust in The HaroldLloyd Corporation in 1923 and gathered around him his brother,father and an uncle who didn t steer him wrong with their advice.He was also a bit of a ladies man who fell desperately in love with his first leading lady, Bebe Daniels and they almost married.Lucky for Bebe they didn t she really had too much get up andgo, Lloyd, with memories of a strident, harping mother, preferredhis women soft and sweet and found the perfect combination inMildred Davis his leading lady in Safety Last.His home Greenacres was a monumental Italian Renaissance palaceset on 16 acres in Benedict Canyon it needed 18 gardeners tokeep the grounds in order It was imposing and tasteless, theirdaughter s playhouse is the size of a small house but Dardispoints out that in the mid 1920s, most stars had opulent mansions they were almost saying how big and popular are we look atour houses.There is the downside Greenacres became too costly to run andwhen Preston Sturges visited in the late 1940s it had a MissHavisham feel, nothing had been replaced since it had been builtin the late 1920s Also because of it s size it had a very isolatingeffect, when Harold s fortunes down turned in the 1930s, he turned to his innumerable hobbies and Mildred, feeling alone,turned to alcohol Lloyd was also pretty stingy and Dardis feelsno doubt that he was a womaniser but everyone, even Mildred apparently,seemed to know On a positive note Lloyd was very supportiveof his son s homosexuality Dardis felt it was very rare for afather in the 1940s expecially one like Lloyd who loved sport andexercise and Harold and Dukey Hal Jnr s nickname were veryclose even when his son indulged in rough trade He and Mildredalso bought up their little grand daughter Suzanne as if she weretheir own as her mother spent her time travelling the world.A riveting read probably for Speedy s fans A very concisefilmography concludes this book.

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