Saturday, October 23, 2010


It's been a while, primarily because the vacation ended and I had to go back to work, but no worries, I'm still on the "happy train" right now, so today I continue the "Favorite Things" theme, shining light on my favorite movie (or film, if you wanna call it that) of all time: Speedy.

You've probably never heard of it. And it's not your fault, Speedy is a very early movie, a silent film from 1928. My favorite actor (or comedian?), and one of my historical crushes, Harold Lloyd stars in it.

A Tidbit of History

Speedy was Harold Lloyd's last silent movie (and in my opinion, his best), set in New York City. Lloyd, known as Speedy (both in real life and in the film) is a young man who always has his heart in the right place, but for the life of him can't quite hold down a steady job. He's always either a tad clumsy or daydreaming, or he's distracted by the New York Yankees' games and stuff like that. He lives with his girlfriend (Jane) and his girlfriend's grandfather (Pop Dillon), who has an old-fashioned (ha!) horse-and-buggy trolley thingy. Anyway, I'm trying not give away too many of the movie's details, but the main story is that some "big shot" businessman tries to make Pop Dillon give up his buggy rights so that he may begin developing new roads or whatever on Pop's buggy route. It's up to Speedy to save Pop's buggy rights and provide financial stability (simultaneously of course).

My Thoughts on Speedy

Personally, I feel Speedy has an air of innocence and good intentions. It's kind of funny that this film came out in the late 1920s, a little before the Great Depression, and it's remarkable how it's "dated" and fits in historical context. Coney Island shows up (which, by the way, I hope to visit one day, and which also shows up in one of my other favorite films, "Annie Hall"), and so does Babe Ruth (cameo appearance!) and (can you believe it!?) the Prohibition!!! History at its best, the film does a splendid job of being so natural in this regard. (Might I also be a historian at heart? ...)

One of my favorite scenes.

On a last note, Speedy hits a soft and dear spot of my heart for one more particular reason. You see, the first time I saw this film, we (my sister and I) were home alone. The air was heavy with summer heat, family-political tension, and an immeasurable foreboding of the terrible things that would occur later that summer of 2005. While my father supposedly worked all day long, my dear, resilient mother had secretly taken on another job, working almost every evening. It was my duty as the oldest daughter at home to keep things together. My younger sister and I would eat dinner, then we'd clean up (whatever had to be done) and wait for Mother to get home.

All summer. Speedy came as some sort of ameliorating escape from the brewing troubles. A sort of nostalgia, a sort of assurance that things always get better, and a sort of encouragement to persevere and enjoy all that comes our way.

Truly, if you get a chance sometime in your life, watch Speedy. While it has a deeper meaning for me (obviously), it is a lighthearted comedy as well, and very worthy of a viewing (or 500 or so!). Below is my favorite part of the entire film, Speedy's visit to Coney Island with his love, courtesy of Turner Classic Movies (I couldn't get the clip to embed on teenytinytidbits, but this link does provide a very high-quality version!!) Enjoy:

No comments:

Post a Comment