What’s Old Is A New Release Again (2019) with… The Kid Brother (1927)

Next up, we have the recent release of the classic 1927 Harold Lloyd silent comedy The Kid Brother!

In the town of Hickoryville lives Sheriff Jim Hickory (Walter James) and his three sons. His sons Leo (Leo Willis) and Olin (Olin Francis) are both big and strong like him. However, his third son, Harold (Harold Lloyd), is the runt of the family. But what Harold lacks in size and brute strength, he makes up for in intelligence, as he finds ways to get his chores done more efficiently. Still, he wishes to be regarded as a man by his father. While his father and brothers are at a town meeting about money they were collecting to build a dam for the town, a traveling medicine show comes to the house. Since he had been messing around with his father’s gun and was wearing his father’s badge, they mistook him for the sheriff and had him sign a permit for them to set up in town. Later, Harold’s father found out and sent him to stop the show. Instead, the two men made fun of him, hanging him up on a bar. The town bully, Hank Hooper (Ralph Yearsley), tries to get in on the act, but in the process sets the wagon on fire. Afterwards, Harold offers Mary Powers (Jobyna Ralston), who was working with the show, a place to sleep at his home (although she ended up going to a neighbor’s home instead, since she would have otherwise been the only woman in the house). The next day was to be a town celebration, but things turned sour quickly when the money that had been collected for the dam and placed in the sheriff’s hands was discovered stolen. Hank’s father, Sam Hooper (Frank Lanning), accuses the sheriff of stealing the money. Unable to do anything himself, the sheriff sends Leo and Olin to find the men from the medicine show, but won’t let Harold. When his brothers fail to find the men, it is up to Harold to help save his father, but can he do it?

The Kid Brother is considered to be one of Harold Lloyd’s best movies. It was his second-to-last silent film, as the sound era would soon start to creep in with the success of The Jazz Singer later on in 1927. Harold Lloyd put a lot of work into this movie, nearly eight months (more than usual), and it shows. From the location shooting, to the use of an elevator filming Harold as he climbs a tree to keep talking with Jobyna’s Mary, to the various gags all working with the story, to the final fight between Harold and the brutish Sandoni (played by Constantine Romanoff), everything just works and shows the effort put into the movie. Me personally, I enjoy many of the gags, but particularly watching Harold dealing with his brothers (and attempting to show how “brave” he could be in front of Mary) are some of the most memorable laugh-out-loud moments for me. I personally wouldn’t call it his absolute best movie, but I would agree that it ranks up there (admittedly, at this point, I’ve only seen about five of his films, but still)! Easily a movie I would recommend!

This movie is available on Blu-ray and DVD from Criterion Collection. The new restoration looks fantastic for a nearly ninety-year-old movie. Sure, there are some scratches here and there, but, for what they had to work with, I have no complaints! The set also includes two of his shorts (more on those in a moment. The shorts don’t look quite as good as the movie, owing to the fact that many of his early shorts were lost in a fire, and they made use of what elements they could find. Between the movie, these shorts and a few other fun extras, this is a very enjoyable set!

Film Length: 1 hour, 23 minutes

My Rating: 10/10

Audience Rating:

*ranked #7 in Top 10 Disc Releases Of 2019

List Of Actor/Actress Filmographies/Collections

The Freshman (1925) – Harold Lloyd – Speedy (1928)

Coming Up Shorts! with… Over The Fence (1917)

(Available as an extra on the The Kid Brother (1927) Blu-ray/DVD from Criterion Collection)

(Length: 5 minutes, 4 seconds)

Ginger (Harold Lloyd) finds some baseball tickets, and offers to take his girlfriend (Bebe Daniels) to the game, but one of his co-workers steals the tickets. However, he still gets in as a pitcher for one of the teams, before a fight breaks out. Apparently, Harold Lloyd’s first short as what would become known as his “Glasses” character, after doing many “Lonesome Luke” shorts. A bit of fun here, with a few familiar faces that he would continue to work with. Not one of his best shorts, but it’s still fun to see the character we know and love at its start!

Coming Up Shorts! with… That’s Him (1918)

(Available as an extra on the The Kid Brother (1927) Blu-ray/DVD from Criterion Collection)

(Length: 11 minutes, 5 seconds)

Harold is set to inherit a lot of money that he has to go collect, but forgets the train tickets. On the way to retrieve them, he is confused for a thief. A bit of fun here, with the line “That’s him” (or “It’s him,” etc.) being used as the police chase Harold. Of course, the real thief is caught and things end happily. Fun short, although the train conductor is obviously wearing blackface (but, it’s a short part). At least, outside of that flaw, this short is good for a few laughs!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.