What I expected:
a simpering comic relief character fawns over the buff hetero villain, dies a villain.
What I got:
A surprising arc of a man who lives in 18th century France finding safety and comfort with his best friend, a war hero. Sure he fawns a little, but he starts to realize Gaston is a goddamn sociopath. He's forced to choose between his own morality and his tenuous personal safety. The film doesn't sugarcoat the character's sexuality and make's it abundantly clear that this is a gay character. Josh Gad plays the role with depth, sincerity, and wit. He isn't a disposable sidekick and is a focal character in his own right.
There's a scene where a dude is "forced" to cross dress that is entirely played for comedy. Two steps forward, one step back.
Happy Birthday, Harold Clayton Lloyd (April 20th, 1893 - March 8th, 1971)
“My humor was never cruel or cynical. We just took life and poked fun at it. We made it so it could be understood the world over, without language barriers. We seem to have conquered the time barrier, as well.”
Happy Birthday Harold Lloyd! » Born April 20, 1893
In the collective mindset of the masses, it’s a given assumption that F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Jay Gatsby is the dominant, all-encompassing definitive characterization of America’s Roaring Twenties.
But a more appropriate personification of the decade is Harold Lloyd, whose life, films, and most of all ‘Glass’ character reflected the social dynamics and attitudes of that transformative era. Whilst in retrospect we maybe see the jaded disillusionment of ourselves and our times in Gatsby, those living through the 1920s saw themselves in go-getter Harold Lloyd’s energetic screen presence. His endearing optimism and distinctive character is unmistakable. Always pushing the possibilities, but never pushing them into the absurd, he grounded himself firmly in the social imaginations and values that formed modern America.
Harold Lloyd captured the essence of ambition and social possibility that shaped the 20s more than any other movie idol. And among the comedy giants, there were none bigger. He was the most real, the most human. And he was handsome. He was resourceful, even when travelling at high speed through the urban phantasmagoria of the booming city. Obsessed with climbing the social ladder, making a buck, and getting the girl, he achieved all three through the genius of his inventive spirit, endless energy, and intuition; such was also the nature of Lloyd’s filmmaking. So many film ‘firsts’ were Harold’s.
Even people who don’t know Lloyd’s name will probably recognize the ubiquitous image of the young man in horn-rimmed glasses and boater hat, scaling the side of a building and dangling from the hands of its clock. Like never before, suddenly in the 20s the impossible was possible, and Harold Lloyd did the impossible, right before the audience’s eyes. He fulfilled the dream, and like scaling a building, reached the highest heights. But as every decade must end, so did the 20s, and no other decade ended quite as hard. Inevitably thus, the sparkle in Lloyd’s eye faded out.
One simply can’t deny or ignore Harold Lloyd’s universally timeless appeal. Yes, he embodied the collective dreams of social self-betterment that so tapped into the 20s movie-going public, but his comedy also stands up today as uniquely relatable and exciting. That smile could tap into the American Dream of any era. Yet he is solidified in history, tied to his time and his place. Harold Lloyd is eternally youthful; eternally 20s.
(Came out of anon, yay me.) Do you have a favorite movie or movies (if more than one)? Mine is Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.
Wilford started to clap with excitement. “Ahh yes, thAt is a clasSic! I actUally EnJoy watch-ing that one with fAmily and friends!!”
“Now, for a favORite movie…I don’t thinK I havE one, but recENtly I watched a film called ‘Safety Last!’ and loOoved it! Some pArts were hilArious let mE tell yOOou, and overall, it was enterTAining!” Wilford put the back of his hand on his hip and grinned innocently.
One of the enduring pleasures of the movies is the thrill of succumbing to the medium’s capacity to toy with our senses. While advances in technology continue to introduce ever more complicated tricks to the trade, the innovations of cinema’s most passionate and playful magicians remain influential long after their tools have been outmoded. In The Art of Effects, a new program premiering tomorrow on the Criterion Channel, we pull back the curtain to reveal the mechanical ingenuity behind some of film history’s grandest illusions. The first installment in the series showcases beloved comedic daredevil Harold Lloyd at the height of his powers, focusing on the famous scene in the 1923 classic Safety Last! that depicts a hapless department-store clerk climbing the edifice of a skyscraper.
Over one glorious weekend in May, the George Eastman Museum in Rochester, New York, revived a theater-going experience otherwise lost to time. This was the second annual incarnation of the Nitrate Picture Show, a festival dedicated to screening a range of movies preserved on nitrate film—the highly flammable material that was replaced by acetate-based safety film in the early 1950s. The museum, which holds one of the world’s most treasured repositories of photography and cinema, continues to maintain a collection of this vintage film stock, and they also have the equipment and expertise to project it—another rarity.
This year, I had the pleasure of returning to attend the festival for the second time, once again experiencing the delight of seeing a selection of old favorites projected with new vibrancy in the museum’s Dryden Theatre. Among the films shown this year were Otto Preminger’s noir masterpiece Laura (1944), Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger’s opera The Tales of Hoffmann (1951), Vittorio De Sica’s neorealist classic Bicycle Thieves(1948), and David Lean’s drawing-room ghost story Blithe Spirit (1945), all screened from stunning nitrate prints culled from archives around the world.