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En vitesse (1928) HD online

En vitesse (1928) HD online
Language: English
Category: Movie / Action / Comedy / Family
Original Title: Speedy
Director: Ted Wilde
Writers: John Grey,Lex Neal
Released: 1928
Duration: 1h 25min
Video type: Movie
"Speedy" loses his job as a soda-jerk, then spends the day with his girl at Coney Island. He then becomes a cab driver and delivers Babe Ruth to Yankee Stadium, where he stays to see the game. When the railroad tries to run the last horse-drawn trolley (operated by his girl's grandfather) out of business, "Speedy" organizes the neighborhood oldtimers to thwart their scheme.
Complete credited cast:
Harold Lloyd Harold Lloyd - Harold 'Speedy' Swift
Ann Christy Ann Christy - Jane Dillon
Bert Woodruff Bert Woodruff - Pop Dillon - Jane's Grand-daddy
Babe Ruth Babe Ruth - Babe Ruth
Byron Douglas Byron Douglas - W.S. Wilton
Brooks Benedict Brooks Benedict - Steve Carter
King Tut the Dog King Tut the Dog - The Dog

The streetcar crash into the elevated train support was an unplanned accident (no one was injured); the idea of replacing the broken wheel with a manhole cover had to be improvised on the scene.

During the Coney Island magic mirror scene, Lloyd gives the middle finger to his reflection in the mirror. This gesture slipped through the censors.

Harold Lloyd was such a popular star at the time, the Coney Island scenes had to be filmed secretly, with the camera often hidden from view, to avoid attracting mobs of adoring fans.

One of only two films to ever receive an Oscar nomination for Best Directing of a Comedy Picture, and the only film to lose in this particular category.

"Speedy" is Harold Lloyd's real-life nickname, given to him by his father.

Lou Gehrig can be seen walking by as Babe Ruth gets out of the cab.

Harold Lloyd's last silent feature film.

Filmed extensively on location in New York City. The slums scenes, however, were built and shot on a backlot in Los Angeles.

The film crew wanted to shoot footage of Babe Ruth actually hitting a home run during a game. Although they were planning to film for a few games until a hit could be captured on film, Ruth hit a home run on the second inning of the first day of filming.

The Yankees opponents at the beginning of the film are the Chicago White Sox.

The ad seen by Harold on the subway for "Marx Heffler & Sharp" is a reference to the famous Hart Shaffner & Marx menswear company, still in business (as of 2017) and headquartered in Chicago, Illinois.

The Yankees-White Sox game depicted early in the film never happened. The line score and in-progress box score does not exist for any regular season game ever played.

In the end, Pop gets $100,000 for his trolley line, which would equate to $1.42M in 2017.



Reviews: [25]

  • avatar

    Soustil

    For a number of people, this is their Harold Lloyd film, especially if they are from New York City. I can understand that, as it's a funny movie and has great shots of what it looked like in NYC in 1927. (The film was released in 1928). It also is famous for having a 5-minute guest appearance by Babe Ruth.

    My vote still goes to "The Freshman," as Lloyd's best but that's all subjective. This is a solid entry and if nothing, else it's a great showcase to see what The Big Apple looked like 80 years ago.

    This gets off to good start, too, unlike a number of silent comedies. Harold's ice- cream parlor antics, as a soda jerk, are a lot of fun to watch. I loved the way he signaled his co-workers on how his beloved home team, the Yankees, were doing inning-by-inning. After Harold loses that job, he winds up driving a cab and then, at the end trying to help his girlfriend's father. The elderly man drives the last horse-trolley in the city and is being threatened by someone who wants to buy him out, and Harold comes to the rescue with a dramatic race to beat the clock in the final hectic 15 minutes of the film.

    While he was driving the cab, he gets the famous Ruth as one of his customers and he's so excited he almost cracks up the cab and Ruth goes crazy in the back seat. It's a funny scene.

    Also tied in with the film is a nice, long scene with Lloyd and his girl (Ann Christy) having a wild day at Coney Island. That, too, was fun and interesting to see. In all, a fun movie and a chance to see Lloyd finish up his great silent career, before films changed to "talkies."
  • avatar

    Tyler Is Not Here

    Besides providing plenty of entertainment from Harold Lloyd and the rest of the cast, this silent comedy classic is also quite enjoyable as a time capsule from 1920s New York, with wonderful footage of Coney Island and other sights, plus the amusing appearance by Babe Ruth. Even more so than most movies of its era, it gives you a very good feel for its time and place.

    The plot has Lloyd, as perpetual job-seeker and job-loser "Speedy", trying to save the city's last horse-drawn streetcar, which is driven by the father of his girlfriend. The David-vs.-Goliath conflict gives Lloyd a lot to work with, and it is used to good effect both for gags and for character development. There are a number of good sequences, including a hilarious and detailed street donnybrook between the transport company's hired goons and Lloyd's ragtag neighborhood stalwarts.

    The lengthy digressions from the main story also work very well. The taxicab sequence with Ruth is probably the best-remembered, and there is also a delightful sequence at Coney Island's Luna Park. Ann Christy and Lloyd work together well, and they make an especially pleasant and sympathetic couple in this sequence.

    "Speedy" is a good showcase for Lloyd, since it combines action sequences that advance the story with other sequences that simply entertain and give you a feel for the characters. Overall, it has quite a lot to recommend it.
  • avatar

    Rocky Basilisk

    A delightful Harold Lloyd piece in which, in a nice change of pace, his character is a self-assured, confident young man living in New York during the roaring twenties, who loves baseball as much as he loves his girlfriend. Trouble is afoot however, when business tycoons try to buyout his father-in-law's lone horse and buggy track for their development. Things turn unlawful when goons are hired to try and thwart the buggy's run, which must be made at least once every 24 hours, or Pop can lose his license.

    Everything plays out in the traditional Lloyd way, with wonderful gags and set pieces, but the biggest treat of all is the roughly twenty minute escape Lloyd takes with his girl to Coney Island. Wonderfully shot, it is truly a pleasure to see Coney Island in it's hey day. As well, Babe Ruth does a nice turn playing himself.

    A must see.
  • avatar

    Kulasius

    Harold Lloyd's last Silent effort is also one of his best vehicles: as ever, production values transcend its simple, comedic nature - the film is particularly relevant as a time-capsule for its view of 1920s New York City - while the narrative itself is filled with enough engaging subplots to please just about everybody - Harold's failure to keep a job for long (we see him, hilariously, as a soda-jerk and a cab driver), his passion for baseball (replacing the game of football celebrated in Lloyd's earlier THE FRESHMAN [1925] and even featuring a cameo by one of its legendary exponents, Babe Ruth, as himself), not to mention an outing with his girl (Ann Christy - okay, if not quite in the same league as regulars Bebe Daniels, Mildred Davis and Jobyna Ralston) at Coney Island.

    The main plot, however, concerns a gang of big-city crooks intent on buying out Christy's grandfather (who owns the last operating horse-drawn cart in town); this eventually results in two wonderful set-pieces: the lengthy brawl between the villains and the team Lloyd rallies to resist them, a bunch of mangled but enthusiastic Civil War veterans, and the exhilarating final chase in which Harold ultimately makes good by bringing in the horse-cart on time against all odds - a tour-de-force in the style of Lloyd's climaxes for both GIRL SHY (1924) and FOR HEAVEN'S SAKE (1926). Incidentally, the ousting of an old-fashioned means of transport was also the theme of one of Ealing Studios' classic British comedies, THE TITFIELD THUNDERBOLT (1953), not to mention one of Luis Bunuel's Mexican films, ILLUSION TRAVELS BY STREETCAR (1954).

    Tragically, director Ted Wilde - who had also guided Lloyd through his finest movie ever, THE KID BROTHER (1927) - died of a stroke at the young age of 36 the year after he made SPEEDY but not before receiving an Oscar nomination for Best Direction of a Comedy Picture, the only time an award of this sort was handed out by the Academy.
  • avatar

    Kriau

    Unlike some of his films in which Lloyd plays an underdog until his final self-assertion, here Lloyd plays a would-be Horatio Alger type who nevertheless is fired from one job to another, yet who is ingenious in handling every minor problem that arises, such as finding seats on the subway while still failing at every job. Highlights: The taxi ride with a terrified Babe Ruth; the old geezers defeating a bunch of hired toughs; a dog who comes close to stealing the show; a climactic mad dash across New York in a horse-drawn trolley; a tender not mawkish romance; and always the Lloyd charm and calculating innocence.
  • avatar

    Anen

    A SPEEDY young fellow races against time to save an unscrupulous syndicate from destroying the horse car line belonging to his girlfriend's grandfather.

    Harold Lloyd made his final silent screen appearance in this very funny movie, which solidifies his reputation as one of the greatest film stars of the era. His impeccable timing and elaborate stunts are abundantly on display and his athletic abilities, despite the severe accident suffered to his right hand some years earlier, are still honed to a razor sharpness. He makes comic mincemeat out of his stints as soda jerk & taxi driver, and whether rallying the neighborhood Civil War veterans to fight off a gang of hoodlums, or ending the film with another of his marvelous trademark chase scenes, Harold is never less than utterly hilarious.

    His new leading lady is played by spunky Ann Christy; they share a glorious, extended Coney Island Sunday sequence full of sight gags, high jinks & sweet romance. Elderly Bert Woodruff plays her beloved grandfather, a grumpy old coot with a heart of gold. And, for a few splendid moments, the immortal Babe Ruth finds himself uncomfortably ensconced in the back seat of Harold's taxi for a madcap dash to Yankee Stadium.

    Movie mavens will recognize an uncredited Josephine Crowell as the very nervous lady in a limousine who has a close encounter with Harold's runaway trolley.

    Rear screen projection was thankfully very rare during the silent era. What was filmed was really happening. However, it's use can be seen encroaching on the sublime reality of Harold's final chase sequence in SPEEDY. Safety factors, among other considerations, had to be accommodated.

    Carl Davis has composed an excellent film score which perfectly complements Harold's antics on the screen.
  • avatar

    Hamrl

    SPEEDY might not be as tight as his other masterpieces- it's a bit episodic, yet those scenes on Coney Island are lovely all the same, and the way they set up a little home inside the truck is poetic. This is the last silent of Lloyd, and it reflects the helplessness towards progression and the nostalgia of the good old past, which is the essence of what makes this film so wonderfully rich and graceful. That attempt of saving the last horse-drawn tram as goal(instead of personal achievement), and especially the help from the civil war veterans and on-lookers(instead of himself as an all-able hero) is atypical of Lloyd, but makes this film warmer, special, and very lovely.
  • avatar

    Swiang

    This is simply a wonderful film and is among the greatest films of Harold Lloyd's career. Unfortunately, it was also the last silent film he made, as 1928 was a transition year in Hollywood--with a decent number of sound pictures being produced. By 1929, just about all the movies they made were talkies.

    Harold is a well-meaning guy who just can't seem to hold down a job. Despite this, he takes his girl to Coney Island for an outing. While this segment of the film doesn't have a lot to do with the plot, I really enjoyed it because it gave an excellent view of Coney Island of 1928--with all the amazing old rides.

    Another segment that really didn't relate to the overall plot was his brief run-in with Babe Ruth. He rushes him to the ballgame and gets to watch some of the game. Like the Coney sequence, this is a wonderful historical curio, as you get to see The Babe and Yankee stadium.

    The girl's father owns a very old-fashioned non-electric trolley line in a small township in New York City. A big transit company is trying to buy him out, but he really wants to keep his business going. However, the scumbags at the big company figure out a loophole--if the small trolley line fails to operate for 24 or more hours, the contract is canceled and the big guys can steal the trolley line. So, they order a group of thugs to steal the trolley and hide it. Harold, up until then had been a lovable loser. However, he shows his mettle and goes to the rescue--leading to an amazing and fun extended chase as Harold tries to keep the trolley from missing its rounds.

    Overall, this may not be the very best Lloyd film (I still think THE FRESHMAN is a tiny bit better), it is definitely among the very best and a great example of silent comedy at its best. Definitely on-par with the best of Chaplin or Keaton.
  • avatar

    Sharpbrew

    For Harold Lloyd's final silent film he chose to shoot most of it in New York City, no doubt using the facilities of Paramount's Astoria Studios as Paramount did release this film that Lloyd himself produced. And now with the demolition of the old Yankee Stadium, there is precious little left from that time in 1928 when Speedy was shot and released to the movie-going public.

    Harold is his usual shy self who just can't seem to hold down a job. He can't even go have a good time with his girl Anna Christy without all kinds of things going wrong for him. But of course in the end he does redeem himself by saving Christy's father's horse drawn trolley franchise by making the route on time in the face of overwhelming obstacles by some unscrupulous people.

    There was always a common thread it seems with both Harold Lloyd and Buster Keaton and to a lesser degree Charlie Chaplin. They could be the worst kind of screw ups for most of the film, but from somewhere within always seemed to develop the intelligence and fortitude to defeat those bad guys in the end.

    Old Yankee Stadium makes its appearance here and also in the film playing himself is Babe Ruth who Lloyd when he's a taxi driver gets to take to the game. The Babe was at the height of his career when he did his cameo in Speedy. He had just hit 60 homeruns the year before and in 1928 he would slip to a mere 54 homerun season.

    More than Yankee Stadium were the shots of Coney Island. The fabled amusement area at the bottom end of Brooklyn is a real treasure trove of locations for Lloyd's sight gags. It's pretty run down now, but as a kid I can tell you it looked more like 1928 in the Fifties than it does nowadays. Steeplechase Park, Luna Park, a lot of the rest of it is now gone.

    Speedy shows Harold Lloyd the silent comic at his best and the film itself is quite a piece of nostalgia for native New Yorkers like me.
  • avatar

    Gavikelv

    I really wasn't that familiar with Harold Lloyd until I saw this silent. I wasn't going to watch it at first, but I got immersed in it almost immediately! What glorious and successful use of slapstick! I'm not even into slapstick that much, but this one had me "rolling in the aisles," or should I say my living room chair.

    Mr. Lloyd had a knack of making fun of himself, which to me is the essence of anything comical. I guess that's why I don't watch anything too recent, since so much comedy these days is either at somebody else's expense, or just plain stupid. Here we have the hero, Lloyd, trying to do something nice for someone else, while having absolute perseverance throughout impossible trials and tribulations. That makes it even better. No violence, thank goodness!

    Mr. Lloyd was a genius, and he ranks with Buster Keaton in bringing timeless laughs.
  • avatar

    Coiril

    The last Harold Lloyd silent comedy, "Speedy" is a yuk-filled feature boasting some impressive thrill scenes and Jazz Age Manhattan ambiance. If not as satisfying as some earlier Lloyd silents, it manages to showcase just why Lloyd was the most popular of the big three silent clowns.

    Harold plays the title character, who may have gotten his name from undiagnosed ADD. Speedy flits from job to job while he dreams of baseball and his girl Jane (Ann Christy). Jane wants to marry Speedy, but first there's the business of her grandfather's horse-drawn trolley, which a greedy railway magnate wants to put out of business any way he can.

    As other commenters here point out, this is less a unified film than a sequence of four shorts stitched together as follows: 1. Harold the soda jerk. 2. Harold and Jane at Coney Island. 3. Harold the taxi driver. 4. Harold saves Pop's trolley. The only serious concession to "Speedy's" feature length is that some business of short #4 is introduced between shorts #1 and #2.

    Add to that the hit-or-miss gagginess of much of the film, and what you wind up with is less satisfying than Lloyd classics like "The Freshman" or "The Kid Brother." Even early Lloyd features like "Grandma's Boy" or "Dr. Jack" had loftier goals than the laugh-driven "Speedy". Yet "Speedy" is funny most of the time, and does work in some other ways, too.

    Though I'm not a Yankees fan, I'm a sucker with any movie that features Babe Ruth. Here, in a cameo, he does excellent work as a passenger afraid for his life getting a mad cab ride from the star-struck Speedy.

    "Even when you strike out, you miss 'em close," Speedy enthuses, eyes on Babe and not the road.

    "I don't miss 'em half as close as you do!" Babe yells back.

    It's cool just seeing these two icons share the screen, and if you watch just before the 53rd minute, you'll see a third icon, Lou Gehrig, slip into the background during a Harold-Babe two-shot and proceed to stick his tongue out at the camera!

    As fun as moments like that are, "Speedy" doesn't add up to the sum of its parts until the final third, when we resume the story of Pop's horse-drawn trolley. There we get a fitting capper to Lloyd's silent-clown career, with a hilarious street battle between young toughs and old coots fought with flypaper, horseshoes, and a pegleg, among other implements. Then there's the final trolley ride, which employs a horrific-looking real accident to create some tension over the question of whether Harold will save the day.

    Like many note, "Speedy" is as captivating for what you see in the background. So much of it was shot for real in Manhattan, and even when there's no comically rude Hall-of-Fame first basemen in sight, there's a lot of energy and activity on view, whether its tugboats on the Hudson, taxis on Times Square, or street urchins ingenuously looking at the camera wondering what's up. The Coney Island sequence is the most labored part of the film for me, but it's still not only inventively played out but especially edifying for those of us who wonder what amusement parks were like before the age of the steel roller-coaster or more stringent safety regulations.

    Lloyd and director Ted Wilde knew what the audience wanted, and deliver it here with a cherry on top. If not quite as on the money after more than 80 years, "Speedy" is still well worth watching for fans of Lloyd and silent comedy.
  • avatar

    Nilabor

    This is probably my favorite of all the Harold Lloyd silent features. Lloyd is my second-favorite of the great silent comedians, after Buster Keaton and before Charlie Chaplin, and this movie showcases him well.

    Lloyd tended to trade more on frenetic action than imagination (Keaton) or pathos (Chaplin), but this movie is an excellent mix of both. The guest appearance by Babe Ruth is a treat; in the sports films of the day, we rarely get such a close-up look at Mr. Ruth. I have to say that his silent acting is worlds better than Michael Jordan's sound acting.

    There's not much I can directly comment on, without being a bit of a spoiler. I will say that this movie demonstrates Harold's athleticism and cleverness in more equal parts than most of his other features.

    Some people will say that 'The Freshman' or 'The Kid Brother' are Lloyd's best silent work. I think we should go out and beat those people with broom handles.

    Well, okay. Maybe just brooms.

    Anyhow, I disagree. This movie develops Lloyd's 'glasses' character into a multi-dimensional being with more concerns than just succeeding in business, winning the girl, and/or not plummeting to his doom from the side of a skyscraper.

    Highly recommended.
  • avatar

    tref

    Today I watched a wonderful restoration of the Harold Lloyd gem "Speedy". Released nearly 90 years ago, this silent film demonstrates the power of great story telling and the genius of Harold Lloyd.

    Lloyd plays the titular character, Speedy--an optimist who can't keep a job. He's a big Yankees fan and the daily exploits of the Bronx Bombers are his obsession. Babe Ruth appears in an extended scene, including an at-bat in Yankee Stadium.

    The film is a tour of New York City, showing the skyline, Times Square, and numerous other locations. When Speedy takes his girlfriend, Jane (Ann Christy, to Coney Island--where he wins her a kewpie doll, a golliwog doll, and other trinkets--there are some nostalgic scenes of the park. Even the crush of the crowds on the NYC subway are grist for Lloyd's comedic mill.

    The film is a dramatic triumph, including tender moments, hectic chase scenes, a comic street fight, and some terrific examples of physical comedy and dangerous stunt work. And it was all filmed without special effects, except rear projection. The director, Ted Wilde, was nominated for a best director Oscar in the comedy category.

    For a glimpse of American comic cinema at its finest in 1928, just before sound changed the art form forever, there is no finer record of Harold Lloyd's mastery than "Speedy". A beautiful snapshot of New York City is a bonus, as are the references to Yankee Stadium and The Babe in the midst of his historic (1927) 60-home run season on Murderers' Row.
  • avatar

    Minnai

    Monday April 11, 7pm, The Paramount, Seattle

    "New York, where everybody is in such a hurry that they take Saturday's bath on Friday so they can do Monday's washing on Sunday."

    A soda jerk takes his girl on a date, then saves her granddad's horse-trolley from crooked businessmen. Harold "Speedy" Swift (Harold Lloyd) could hold down a job if it didn't interfere with baseball. During a stint as a cabby he drives Babe Ruth to work, nearly killing them both and gets fired when he sits behind his boss at the game. Pop Dillon can't work and laments, "The folks at City Hall said that as long as my car runs once every twenty-four hours, the car n' track is mine." Speedy and the neighbors step in to save the day in the hair-raising finale.

    In his eleventh and final silent feature, Harold Lloyd made the most of bustling New York locations, including Coney Island's magnificent Luna Park and Yankee Stadium. Cutie-pie Ann Christy plays Jane, with Bert Woodruff as the gruff-but-lovable old man, but the dog nearly steals the show!

    "The House of Hits!"

    Starring Harold Lloyd, "The fastest, Funniest Feller in the Films," Speedy opened at Seattle's United Artists Theatre (formerly the Liberty) on 1st Avenue, Thursday, April 5, 1928 for the "First Showing Anywhere in the Wide, Wide World!" Jan Sofer and The United Artists Orchestra provided live musical accompaniment and performed an overture of popular tunes, "In the Song Shop." "Grab a seat in Harold's snicker special. He guarantees a laugh in every bump and a thrill in every rattle!"
  • avatar

    Nirn

    We are so fortunate that this film among many of Lloyds films that had not been in release for many years has recently been restored to it's original glory. This is a well done light romantic comedy which is what Lloyd not only specialized in but nearly invented as a medium.

    While it covers new ground, it also covers stuff Lloyd has done before with the street cars. If you have seen Girl Shy, you will realize that a lot of the street car stuff was done in that movie too though that one has a stronger story than this one.

    Lloyd's soda jerk chasing the young girl of his dreams in the basic plot. The wonderful covering of the old New York City area including the original Coney Island rides makes this film historic. Keep in mind, this was filmed in 1927 & released in 1928. That means when Babe Ruth makes his appearance in this movie, he is having on of his great seasons with the 27 Yankees. He is hitting 60 home runs that season. It would be over 30 years before Roger Maris broke that mark in 1961.

    This film does have some of Lloyds clever humor.
  • avatar

    Mildorah

    Set in New York, the thinest of plots ties Speedy through from beginning to end, in which they must save the old family horse pulled taxi business. Mostly though it is a sequence of barely related shorts stitched together, which ultimately makes Speedy less than the sum of its parts. My favourite sequence was Lloyd the taxi driver, where he manages a thousand different ways to lose passengers, only to cost himself money! There are many charms and chuckles elsewhere and its an enjoyable enough ride, but unfortunately it ends with its least memorable sequence - relying on group violence and the old standard chase sequence - instead of the cleverness that preceded.
  • avatar

    Coiriel

    Lloyd's last silent movie (and his last good pic) is - despite some great gags, high production values and eye-catching set-pieces - first and foremost a wonderful time capsule of New York City, 1928.

    The direction evokes an authentically busy and buzzing Big Apple atmosphere, set in contrast to the relaxed good ol' times when horse carts were still popular.

    There's not much plot to speak of, rather a string of sequences, with the middle section being particularly funny while the two(!) showdowns are too drawn out.

    7 out of 10 cab drives with Babe Ruth
  • avatar

    Very Old Chap

    Copyright 7 April 1928 by the Harold Lloyd Corporation. New York opening at the Rivoli: 6 April 1928. U.S. release: 7 April 1928. 7,776 feet. 87 minutes.

    COMMENT: Quite simply, the best comedy ever made, "Speedy" is a movie that has everything: sympathetic characters, a nice love story, a thrill-a-second chase climax, and some really outstanding gags. Add to that, Babe Ruth in person (the remarkably engaging Ruth emerges as quite an accomplished actor), superb location material of New York and Coney Island in 1928, an abundance of streetcars (I love movies about streetcars), an open-ended budget, and, above all, heart (an ingredient that so many modern films miss completely)!

    In the 1920s, even more than today, there was enormous pressure on film-makers to surpass their previous efforts. "Speedy" was Lloyd's remarkable answer to a constant succession of hits. Starting with Safety Last in 1923, Lloyd turned out Why Worry? (also 1923), Girl Shy (1924), Hot Water (also 1924), The Freshman (1925), For Heaven's Sake (1926), The Kid Brother (1927), and Speedy (1928).

    Alas, as it transpired, "Speedy" became both his biggest success and his last. Like his chief competitor, Chaplin, Lloyd was unable to make the transition to talkies, but whereas Chaplin wisely put off the evil day, Lloyd tackled talkies head on, until, years later, he was forced to retire, "bloody but unbowed."

    Why did a formula that worked so well in silent cinema fail to achieve the same success with sound? The obvious answer is that, despite a generous sprinkling of witty sub-titles that delighted the critics and the Park Avenue set, Lloyd's appeal to the masses was primarily visual. He didn't come up with an endless succession of wisecracks like Bob Hope; or bounce tried-and-true vaudeville routines with a dumb stooge like Abbott homing in on Costello; or make faces while he sang funny songs like Danny Kaye or George Formby; or possess a well-honed retinue of repetitive dialogue phrases like Jack Benny or Laurel and Hardy or The Crazy Gang.

    "Speedy" was actually Harold Lloyd's nick-name in real life, so it's appropriate to find him using that name in this movie. He had used it before, of course, in "The Freshman". But this character was now an entirely different "Speedy".

    The carefully controlled pace of the movie and the ingenious way in which the leisurely opening sequences very gradually gather speed right up to the edge-of-the-seat climax, should serve as a lesson in perfect comedy construction.

    A few critics (presumably not baseball fans) have complained about Babe Ruth's presence in the movie. He's superfluous, they claim. In point of fact, he's essential to the plot, as it's in the Ruth scene that we first see another side of "Speedy", the never- mind-the- consequences, go-for-it daredevil. And thus we have a second inkling of what we hope will develop into a brilliant running gag. And this is exactly what it does! Frankly, despite obvious process work and under-cranking, I doubt very much if Speedy's street chases have ever been equaled, let alone surpassed.

    It would be impossible to remake the movie today, even with all the wizardry of computer animation, for less than $100 million. For sheer spectacle, "Speedy" is the number one comedy of all time. All the same, I wonder if there really were a few horse-drawn trolleys still in operation in some New York neighborhoods in 1928, as the film insists. Amazing!
  • avatar

    Winenama

    This was a bit different than "Girl Shy", "For Heaven's Sake" and "The Freshman". For a start Harold already had his girl - but it wasn't Jobyna Ralston, and you couldn't quite imagine the beautiful, demure Jobyna making an entrance where she kicks a couple of street urchins on the derriere and then makes cheeky faces at them as the trolley takes off. It was Ann Christy and she proved, initially, to be just as high spirited as Harold, but, as the story progressed and Harold's efforts at finding a job increased, her role petered out - and I definitely missed Jobyna.

    Harold wasn't the whole show in this - in fact Jane and her Pop, who operated the last horse drawn trolley car in New York, were introduced before Harold - and when he was, a bit of the old "up and at 'em" pep from his earlier movies was missing. In fact Pop was despairing of Harold ever finding a steady job - even though Harold was never without the "Help Wanted - Male" section of the paper. If jobs proved too difficult, as he said to Jane, he could always find another on Monday and Sunday was the best day to go to Luna Park. As with other reviewers, I found the visit to Luna Park was the highlight of the movie. Too much "funny stuff" happened to tell everything - the nippy lobster, when Harold thought he had wrecked his best suit, only to find it was the reflection of a lady's parasol and a pesky dog (played by "King Tut") who will not leave the pair alone and later on becomes an invaluable help as Harold does battle with a trolley gang. In fact the dog almost steals the movie with his comical expressions!!!

    Harold has a series of jobs and underlying them all is his passion for baseball. When he is a soda jerk, he has a hot line to the Yankee stadium and he keeps the kitchen staff up to date with scores by arranging doughnuts and pretzels. When he gets a job as a taxi driver his dreams come true when Babe Ruth hails his cab and orders him to take him to the ball park - and step on it!! He drives through the traffic like a maniac, dodging police and vehicles with precision - Mr. Ruth can hardly believe it!!

    The main story, however, has to do with Pop and the evil business men who are trying everything in their power to close his trolley down. As long as Pop can run the trolley for 2 hours a day everything is okay. The baddies are planning to cause a ruckus and carry Pop off, so his contract will be broken. They don't reckon on Harold and Pop's feisty Civil War buddies (it was the 20s). In the funniest sequence in the movie the elderly veterans jump into the fight with gusto (as one says "the only fights I've had in 60 years are with my wife - I'm on edge!!!"). In what was obviously a take off of the popularity of "Ben Hur" - Harold's trolley chase through the streets of New York is filmed like that famous chariot race. The horses are neck and neck and when he drives the trolley through the New York streets it looks just like a stadium. It is pretty spectacular.

    All in all a wonderful movie - even if I do miss Jobyna!!

    Highly Recommended.
  • avatar

    6snake6

    the fact that films like this have over time morphed into complex tales with twists of irony and cynicism is kind of odd when you think about it. here you have old fashion pie eyed classic American values vs today's films which go as far as dogma or south park. the leap seems almost unimaginable. if this film has no other redeeming qualities it at least serves as beautiful archival footage of a time and place forever lost. new york city before the crash, the chrysler building, and king kong. outside of the plot and character, what unfolds on screen is a beautiful look at new york when horses and trolley cars still competed for space on the streets. and some wonderfully personal scenes of coney island. with in the movie is a typical harold comedy, complete with under cranked camera work in order to give the illusion of speed and early acting of physical comedy and choreography that has jackie chan as a distant offspring. the weird thing to think about during the film is that at this point in time everyone on screen has probably been dead for over fifty years! the comedy when it hits can be amusing, but nothing like the marx brothers or stooges would later achieve. llyod is a pioneer in that respect and often over shadowed by chaplin. the fight seen towards the end (what's new york without a huge riot?) goes on a bit too long and pushes the movie up to 85 min. which was rather long for that era. worth seeing once, at least 7 out of 10
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    Winail

    Unable to hold a steady job, an avid baseball fan nevertheless manages to impress his girlfriend by saving her grandfather's transportation business (and meeting Babe Ruth too) in this Harold Lloyd silent comedy. More of a collection of skits than a cohesive narrative, 'Speedy' lacks in the tension and urgency departments but makes up for it with several very funny moments throughout. While some of the gags are telegraphed a little too far in advance (a twitchy dog tied to a table), most are delightfully spontaneous, with some of the best parts involving Lloyd failing to get paying taxi passengers and using a police officer mannequin to his advantage. The single cleverest scene though has Lloyd trick a couple of unsuspecting passengers into giving up seats for his girlfriend and himself. There are also some incredibly funny moments to be had from Lloyd somehow getting a crab stuck in his pocket while at Coney Island; the reactions of a baffled balloon salesman beg to be seen. The bit part players here are actually universally solid though and indeed as funny as Chaplin or Keaton could be in their heyday, there is something to be said for how the biggest laughs in this Lloyd comedy come from the way others react to the strife he gets into. The pacing sometimes lags here with an extensive number of title cards for a physical comedy, but this is generally solid stuff.
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    Kezan

    Pop Dillon operates the last horse-drawn trolley in New York. His loving granddaughter Jane has boyfriend Harold 'Speedy' Swift (Harold Lloyd) who is constantly changing jobs and dreams of being a baseball player. A railroad is trying to buy Pop's track. Pop negotiates a price but Speedy torpedoes the negotiations when he reads that the big railroads need Pop's run. Speedy takes Jane to Coney Island. He next gets a new job as a taxi cab driver. It goes badly until he picks up Babe Ruth. At Yankee Stadium, he overhears a man scheming to steal Pop's track by stopping the run for 24 hours.

    This is famed silent era star Harold Lloyd's final silent movie. It's great to see Coney Island at its heights and the old rides. Babe Ruth makes a solid cameo. Harold Lloyd driving the Babe around is harrowing and kinda infuriating. It actually made me not like Speedy as much. There is quite a bit of action. I love the old Coney Island rides. The car chases are sometimes interesting with one shocking crash. It looks like it really hurted. The plot rambles around a bit. This has some fun and it's an easy watch.
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    Eigonn

    SPEEDY (1928) tells the story of Harold "Speedy" Swift (Harold Lloyd), a young man that floats from job to job while dating Jane Dillon (Ann Christy), who lives with her grandfather Pop (Bert Woodruf). Pop drives the last horse-drawn passenger carriage in New York City. Unscrupulous developers who want to use his track for a streetcar will stop at nothing to take it out from under him. Can Speedy save the day? Directed by Ted Wilde.

    1928 was one of the last great years in silent film. The art form had reached a technical high point thanks to such films as FW Murnau's masterpieces THE LAST LAUGH and SUNRISE, William Wellman's WINGS, and King Vidor's THE BIG PARADE, which featured sophisticated cinematography and expressive acting. Many other films benefited from these innovations, and SPEEDY is one of them. Befitting its title, it features taut editing and vivid, fluid cinematography, using many tracking shots and shots from the front or the rear of a moving vehicle. We also get a wealth of wonderful location shots that show 1920s New York City in all its glory. No cheap looking back lot sets here; everything is REAL. And it makes a huge difference.

    Most importantly, though, it's a hilarious movie with moments of tenderness and quite a bit of suspense. We get an outing with Babe Ruth in a speeding taxi to Yankee Stadium, and a hilarious mêlée between Civil War veterans and the unscrupulous developers, as well as genuinely exciting chases and rides to the rescue. The film makes a nice detour from the plot to show Speedy and Jane's eventful outing at Coney Island. It doesn't matter that it's not really part of the plot – it works because it establishes the characters and it's full of funny moments, like the painted fence, a persistent dog, and Lloyd's comical efforts to avoid getting his suit dirty that are nearly foiled at every turn. This movie is very, very funny, but it also has a lot of warmth too – like the scene between Speedy and Jane in the moving fan, sitting among the furniture and imagining their married life together, as well as Speedy's devotion to Jane and her grandfather.

    Lloyd carries the film with his trademark good-natured, can-do persona, and he doesn't overplay either – he's very restrained and realistic. He holds it all together with his somewhat bumbling yet also quite inventive character, and his relentless optimism, which appealed greatly to 20s audiences and still does today. Lloyd and Christy make a charming couple. Apparently Ann Christy only made a few more appearances, mostly in Poverty Row efforts. It's a shame she didn't have more of a career – she's very likable and effective here, an appealing heroine. Everyone in the cast does fine work in their roles.

    I could say more, but it's best to see it for yourself. SPEEDY hasn't gotten as much acclaim as SAFETY LAST or THE FRESHMAN, but in my opinion, as great as those two movies are, this one is even more so. A true classic. RATING: 10/10
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    Helo

    . . . in SPEEDY, filmed just after the Sultan of Swat set the all-time record for home runs in a season lasting 154 games (which still stands after 86 years). The Babe was not only the best MLB pitching star turned hitter, but also the best MLB player turned movie star. While maybe not as hilarious as Buster Keaton, George Herman is far funnier than Fatty Arbuckle. It's as if one guy was Bob Feller, Bob Hope, and Bobby Thompson rolled into one--if Bobby had smacked 714 career home runs (instead of 263 ordinary Dingers, plus "the Shot heard 'round the world"). Harold Lloyd is referred to by some as the "third genius" of silent film stars, along with Keaton and Charles Chaplin. None of this "brilliant" trio was smart enough to figure out how to have as big careers when "talkies" came out as they had had with the mutes. This may be explained by the constant use of Intertitle cards in silent films. These full-screen captions gave folks such as Keaton, Chaplin, and Lloyd five or then seconds to think about their next "bit" before it was shot. The luxury of having this extra preparation time was gone with the wind as soon as "talkies" came along, since there was no longer a need to interrupt all the big movie moments with printed explanations for the audience to read. Flicks with sound were a big boost for the illiterate segment of the American population. Many kids dropped out of school, now that they could enjoy movies without having to read Intertitle cards. However, "talkies" were a big bust for Keaton, Chaplin, and Lloyd (though not so much for Ruth, who could do anything; he would have won the world championship for eating Nathan's Hot Dogs if it existed back then).
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    Cheber

    A delightful Harold Lloyd comedy about a frequently unemployed baseball fan (Lloyd) who uses his wiles and considerable gumption to help save his soon-to-be father-in-law's horse-drawn streetcar, which is being threatened with takeover by a crooked businessman.

    The first half of the film is devoted to an episodic foray Lloyd and his girl take to Coney Island, and it's a treat to see that famous fairground as it was at the time. The second half shifts into high gear, as a street battle rages between the mobsters intent on stealing Lloyd's father-in-law's business away from him and the rag-tag bunch of Civil War veterans Lloyd assembles to combat them and who are itching for a fight.

    I love Harold Lloyd's movies, and though he's usually assigned to third place (behind Chaplin and Keaton) in the famous silent comedian sweepstakes, he's my favorite of the three.

    "Speedy" received an Academy Award nomination for Ted Wilde's comedy direction in Oscar's very first year, the only year to date that the Best Director award was divided into dramatic and comedic categories.

    Grade: A