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Harold "Speedy" Swift (Harold Lloyd), is an upbeat young man whose love of baseball always causes him to lose his jobs. After his latest firing, he winds up on Coney Island with his sweetheart, Ann. Ann's grandfather, Pop Dillon (Bert Woodruff), meanwhile, has a dilemma — he runs the last horse-drawn trolley in New York City, and the railway guys desperately want his route. Since Pop won't sell it to them, they plan to get it by underhanded means. When trolley is stolen, Speedy has to find it and get it back to its route before the the last trolley is taken out of business for good.



Ignoring the aged stock footage or indeed raw footage of the establishing New York City based elements, which look about as rough as that sort of  footage does (minus any damage due to the restoration of course), this presentation, while looking as old as any silent film era production in terms of the jittery filming techniques, looks pretty damn fantastic. The Criterion 4K clean up is just great and sort of gave me a warm glow of nostalgia for a period I wasn't alive in but have a real fondness for, especially when the films of the time are treated this well. There's an element of grain but the clean appearance of the film is often times staggering.

Sharp edges, tons of detail and a real appreciation of the film's original style, this Harold Lloyd caper has nice deep blacks, a variety of greys and a the sets just pop with life, despite the odd flick of the film stock and clearly aged filmmaking techniques. The image is bright and full of life, every mannerism from Lloyd is captured and the wild gags and stunts are crisp to study and smirk at. This is a great looking disc even for a film made in 1928 and fans of Harold Lloyd or even just this era of silent film are in for a bit of a treat with its clean up.



The audio, is of course just jaunty score and it sits strong and crystal clear. This is a relatively new (1992) recording and due to it just being a score, there's not a lot to say really beyond the fact each instrument sounds separate and clear and layering is modern and, well, perfect. From small moments to grander elements, from the odd sound effects, such as a whistle or a chime, this is an entirely more modern recording, capturing the original intent but it fits the film as well as any silent film score would. It takes a while to slip into the connection between score and storytelling (mainly because of the crisp recording if I'm honest, I almost want the crackle and hiss to connect the visuals to the sound of the score) but it doesn't take long to click and it soon feels more part of the visuals as it should.



The commentary by Bruce Goldstein and Scott Magee is a history lesson on the film more than anything else, warm and detailed.

'In The Footsteps Of Speedy' (31:05 HD) is a great documentary covering Harold Lloyd's career leading up to Speedy and it's New York City setting with its '7 Million extras'.

'Babe Ruth' (40:24 HD) covers the cameo in Speedy from one of America's most famous sports stars. The sporting legend is discussed and his appearances on film due to his popularity dealt with in detail.

'Narrated Stills: Deleted Scenes' (04:24 HD) covers images from the early sneak peaks and their deletion due to the lack of chuckles using the laugh monitoring 'Lafograph'.

'Home Movies' (17:45 HD) features Harold Lloyd's home movies, narrated by his Granddaughter.

'Bumping Into Broadway' (25:51 HD) is a short film from Harold Lloyd also set in New York.

I assume there is a Criterion booklet with the release too but this was not supplied with the review disc to confirm.



I have fond memories of watching Harold Lloyd on, what I assume was either a best of style clip show TV channels used to run or maybe even his actual movies that once again ran on TV quite a lot in my youth. More than anything I remember the Harold Lloyd theme tune, so that makes me assume that was TV show more than anything else, as I would have had to hear it more than once for it to be so engrained in my brain. Either way, I sort of have a distant but extremely fond memory of watching silent films in my youth on the sofa and not getting bored as you would image a young kid to do but fully going with them. The fun of reading the dialogue and the over dramatic responses to moments, it's sort of adorable and fun and Speedy was a nice revisit to that sort of thing.

Silent film is such a weird concept to many, I know my kids were scratching their heads a bit with this one but it's still weirdly engaging. Without the 5.1, the dialogue and the multiple sound effects, Harold Lloyd's Speedy still utterly entertains and put a smile on this reviewer's face, but when Criterion put a package together this well, with a great presentation and some fine extras, what's not to have fun with?

* Note: The images on this review are taken from the Blu-ray and resized for the page. Full-resolution captures are available by clicking individual images, but due to .jpg compression they are not necessarily representative of the true quality of the source.