Harold Lloyd Over the Border by mariela mendez & matthew c. hoffman

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It’s no great revelation that the movies bring us together. The influence of the silent clowns is cross-cultural. The laughter is universal. Harold Lloyd’s impact is indeed international.

One of the many Harold Lloyd films I wish I could’ve played in the Park Ridge Public Library film series is one of my personal favorites: 1923’s Why Worry?— perhaps his most insane comedy. Harold plays a wealthy hypochondriac in need of rest. With his nurse (played by his best leading lady, Jobyna Ralston), he travels to one of those vague movieland countries that seem to exist in some alternate universe. Though the Latin American locale is called “Paradiso,” it is clearly supposed to be Mexico. (A Mexican flag hanging from a building in one of the stills is the tip-off.)

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Being as self-centered as he is, Harold Van Pelham naturally thinks the revolution that is taking place around him is in his honor. Eventually thrown into prison, he befriends an 8 foot 9 inch giant named “Colosso” who has an even bigger toothache. This companion will come in handy later when the trio attempts to thwart the advance of an entire regiment.

This is the only Lloyd film that comes close to the anarchic zaniness of the Marx Brothers. I thought I was alone in my appreciation of its brilliant absurdity because I didn’t know anyone personally who had seen it. So imagine my surprise when I heard a voice from south of the border that championed the film.

The following story comes from a teenager in Mexico named Mariela. She is one of the most devoted fans of Harold Lloyd I’ve come across, and she is the youngest officer in my facebook movie group: Legends of Laughter. It is always a pleasure discussing Harold’s films with her because her life clearly has been touched by the magic silence. 

The world beyond the theatre door can sometimes be a challenge, but friends like Mariela are there to ask, “Why Worry?” 

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“La Comedia en Mi Vida”

Aún recuerdo que, hace cerca de 3 años, yo había tenido unos días algo difíciles un poco más de lo normal, ni la televisión, ni el internet, nada me animaba, cuando todo parecía tan común, tan vacio; hay días en los que todos sentimos eso, supongo.

Pero hubo una noche en el cual mi padre llegó conmigo y me mostro un video mudo de 3:01 minutos donde aparecía un tipo bien vestido y atractivo bailando con una joven en un salón para fiestas.

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Al muchacho se le presentaron una serie de pequeños inconvenientes a los cuales actuó de cierta forma la cual me hizo reír a carcajadas, como hace mucho no lo hacía. Ese video era una pequeña parte de una película llamada “An Eastern Westerner ” (1920), protagonizada por Harold Lloyd, el cual por casualidad resulto ser el muchacho del que les hablo.

En fin, me gusto tanto el video, que decidí buscar otros mas, y así pude terminar viendo una cuarta  parte de su filmografía (un aproximado de 50 películas), entre ellas “Safety Last!” (1923), “Why Worry?” (1923), “Hot Water” (1924), The Freshman (1925), The Kid Brother (1927), Speedy (1928), entre otras.

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En el film “Safety Last!” terminé enamorándome del personaje (protagonizado por Harold Lloyd) en una escena donde él aparecía pagando todo su salario y quedándose sin comer (ni siquiera un café) para enviarle un collar a su prometida (Mildred Davis), la cual lo esperaría en un pueblito donde él vivía, para cuando mejoraran las cosas por fin casarse. Como todos ustedes saben, el terminó escalando un edificio de una considerable altura por ella, (adorable ¿verdad?).

Decidí también investigar a Harold Lloyd, todo lo que era él, como se sobrellevó ante las adversidades presentadas en su camino y todas las maravillas que hacía con sus películas, (ya después de fallecido me daba lecciones de vida) y así fue como descubrí que (como muchos lo saben) Harold Lloyd es un genio.

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Después lo busqué en Facebook y cierto tiempo después encontré un grupo llamado “Buster Keaton, Harold Lloyd, & Charlie Chaplin: Legends of Laughter” (y de esta manera conocí a un muy, muy querido amigo también dueño de este blog) y descubrí a otros dos pioneros de la comedia (Buster Keaton y Charles Chaplin), en verdad no los conozco tanto como a Harold Lloyd pero también vi que hicieron maravillas en sus películas.

En estos días, me parece absurdo que la mayoría de la opinión pública es: Si no hay algún comentario o doble sentido vulgar, no causa risa, últimamente se ha perdido el hilo de lo que es en realidad puramente divertido.Se supone que un verdadero comediante es aquel que no tiene la necesidad de humillarse o hacer un comentario de mal gusto para dar risa. La comedia actual se ha ido degradando mucho con el tiempo.

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Es triste que hoy el público no conozca u olvide a estas personas que marcaron la vida del cine y la de nosotros, nos hicieron pasar ratos de diversión, y también nos conmovieron hasta derramar un par de lágrimas. Pero no solo fueron ellos 3, (aunque sí de los más importantes) también hubo más, pero el punto es que no debemos olvidar lo que marcó nuestras vidas en un buen aspecto: La comedia antigua.

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NOTE: The following is my best translation in English. It is not perfect and some of it is paraphrased, but I hope it conveys the spirit of Mariela’s original text.

“The Comedy in My Life”

I still remember that about three years ago I had a few days that were a little more difficult than usual. Neither television, nor the Internet, nothing encouraged me. Everything seemed so common, so empty. There are days in which we all feel so, I guess.

But there was one night where my father came to me and showed a silent video of three minutes where a guy appeared who was dressed and dancing with a girl in a party room.

The boy had a series of small problems in which he acted in a way that made ​​me laugh out loud. It had been a long time since I laughed. That video was a small part of a movie called An Eastern Westerner (1920), starring Harold Lloyd, who, by chance, happened to be the boy of whom I speak.

Anyway, I liked both the videos, so I decided to find more. I finished watching a quarter of his filmography (approximately 50 films), including Safety Last! (1923), Why Worry? (1923), Hot Water (1924), The Freshman (1925), The Kid Brother (1927), Speedy (1928), among others.

In the film Safety Last! I ended up falling in love with the character (played by Harold Lloyd) in a scene where he appeared to be spending all his salary and running out of food (not even coffee) in order to send a necklace to his fiancée (Mildred Davis). Until the day when they could marry, she was living in his home town.  As you all know, he ended up climbing a building of considerable height for her (adorable, right?).

I wanted to find him on Facebook, and some time later I found a group called “Buster Keaton, Harold Lloyd, Charlie Chaplin: Legends of Laughter.” (In this way I met a very, very dear friend who is also administrator of this blog.) I discovered the other two pioneers of comedy (Buster Keaton and Charles Chaplin). Really, I don’t know about them as much as Harold Lloyd, but I also see that they, too, did wonders in their films.

In these days, it seems absurd that most of the public opinion is:
if there isn’t any vulgar double meaning, there isn’t any laughter. The plot gets lost.

It is assumed that a true comedian is one who has no need to humiliate or make a comment in poor taste to make us laugh.

Current comedy has deteriorated significantly over time.

It is sad that today the public does not know or simply forgets these people who marked the life of the cinema and us. We were spending time in fun, but also in moments that moved us to shed a few tears. But not only these three (comics)–although, yes, the most important– but others. The point is that we should not forget the good aspects that touched our lives: the old comedy.

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One Response to “Harold Lloyd Over the Border by mariela mendez & matthew c. hoffman”

  1. Alejandro Tuesta Says:

    Esta genial el artículo , siempre es bueno saber un poco de la historia del cine y de personajes tan especiales y expontáneos como Harold Lloyd , los felicito .

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