Thoughts From The Music(al) Man (2020) on… The Freshman (1925)

And now, for one of my final reviews of the year, we have that classic Harold Lloyd silent comedy, The Freshman!

Harold “Speedy” Lamb (Harold Lloyd) is really looking forward to college. He has been learning the various chants for Tate College, as well as learning a dance-type of greeting from a college movie he had seen. Once he arrives at Tate, though, he soon finds himself in trouble. The College Cad (Brooks Benedict), who has a thing for picking on the incoming freshman, senses a golden opportunity with Harold as he pretends to be a friend while making fun of him. The Cad convinces Harold to make a speech to the student body, and afterwards, when Harold offers to treat his new friends to ice cream, the crowd becomes much bigger as the Cad keeps inviting others to come along, earning Harold the nickname “Speedy The Spender.” The Cad suggests that, if he wants to be as popular as the college hero, Chester Trask (James Anderson), he should go out for the football team. The Football Coach (Pat Harmon) doesn’t think he’s good enough for the team, but Chester convinces him to let Harold be the water boy, while they let him think he is part of the team. Harold decides to give a big party for the Fall Frolic, in the hopes of ensuring his popularity. Of course, he has trouble with his suit, as the College Tailor (Joseph Harrington) had barely managed to put it together in time, and the suit ends up coming apart throughout the evening (with the tailor helping try to stitch it back together). However, the Cad tries to force himself on Harold’s girlfriend Peggy (Jobyna Ralston), which results in Harold fighting him off. In anger, the Cad reveals how much of a joke that Harold is to everybody, bursting his bubble. However, still believing himself to be an important member of the football team, Harold looks forward to the big game, where he hopes to prove himself. But, can this water boy manage to help out in the game?

While not his best-known film (which would be Safety Last!), The Freshman would prove to be one of Harold Lloyd’s most financially successful films. Personally, I can VERY easily see why! I’ve seen the movie several times now, and it’s one I like coming back to, as it has many memorable moments! The Fall Frolic party in particular stands out the most, as Harold tries to be a good host, even though he has a big problem: the tailor wasn’t able to finish the tuxedo, which means Harold has to be careful about how he moves! Of course, you know he’ll make his own mistakes, but others will accidentally pull the suit apart, too! Easily a lot of fun there!

And that’s not even going into some of the other good stuff, either! He also has a speech he’s conned into giving to the student body, as well as football practice and the big game as well! And it’s something simple, but I enjoy the special dance/greeting he uses whenever he meets somebody! I admit, I wouldn’t mind being able to learn it (or something similar of my own design, since I should try to be myself and not someone else). Of course, in light of the pandemic, the idea of learning that special handshake is certainly a moot point for the time being, anyway. Still, this movie gives me a lot of laughs, from start to finish, and allows me to think of happier times. Easily a movie I would quite heartily recommend!

This movie is available on Blu-ray and DVD from Criterion Collection.

And if you are interested in joining in on my month-long “Star Of The Month” blogathons for 2021, whether for next month (Doris Day), February (Clark Gable) or beyond, please be sure to check out my Coming Soon In 2021: “Star/Genre Of The Month” Blogathons post to sign up!

Film Length: 1 hour, 17 minutes

My Rating: 10/10

Audience Rating:

List Of Actor/Actress Filmographies/Collections

Safety Last! (1923) – Harold Lloyd – The Kid Brother (1927)

Coming Up Shorts! with… The Marathon (1919)

(available as an extra on The Freshman (1925) Blu-ray/DVD from Criterion Collection)

(Length: 13 minutes, 58 seconds)

Two men fight over the chance to take a girl to see the marathon, with her retired boxer father trying to make his choice known. Very fun short, featuring Harold Lloyd’s older brother Gaylord doing the “mirror gag” routine, and rather hilariously, too! Of course, Harold has fun with some other stunts, including being dragged around by a small dog, as well as his antics fighting with everybody. Only complaint is a minor character, who is very obviously wearing blackface. Still, a short I enjoy returning to every now and then!

Coming Up Shorts! with… An Eastern Westerner (1920)

(available as an extra on The Freshman (1925) Blu-ray/DVD from Criterion Collection)

(Length: 27 minutes, 37 seconds)

A young man (Harold) is sent West after getting into trouble by spending all night out at nightclubs. Out west, he runs afoul of the local big shot, who is trying to get the girl (Mildred Davis). Some fun as we see Harold get into trouble first at the nightclub, and then, when he gets out West, he tries (and fails) to look like he belongs. But, he manages to be a hero when he needs to be, and the final chase is fun in between all his stunts and getting the bad guys to turn on each other!

Coming Up Shorts! with… High And Dizzy (1920)

(available as an extra on The Freshman (1925) Blu-ray/DVD from Criterion Collection)

(Length: 27 minutes, 15 seconds)

Harold Lloyd plays a doctor with a new practice, who meets and falls for one of his new patients, Mildred (except her father doesn’t want him to treat her for her sleepwalking). When he gets drunk helping a doctor friend save his brew, he finds himself in the hotel Mildred is in, and deals with her sleepwalking on the ledge. A fun short, even if it is somewhat uneven. We first start out with the stuff with Mildred, switch gears and deal with Harold being drunk, before returning to Mildred in time for the finish. Still, the gags are fairly funny, and it’s fun to see Harold out on the building ledge (especially as he quickly sobers up from the experience)!

2 thoughts on “Thoughts From The Music(al) Man (2020) on… The Freshman (1925)

    1. It’s hard not to enjoy it! I’ve really been enjoying some of Harold Lloyd’s films the last few years, and I enjoy this one about as much as any!
      Also, if you’re interested in joining, I have my “Star Of The Month” blogathons for next year starting up shortly with Doris Day for January, Clark Gable for February, or Gene Kelly for March (or a few others that I’ve put on the schedule)!
      https://thoughtsfrommusicalman.art.blog/2020/11/23/coming-soon-in-2021-star-genre-of-the-month-blogathons/

      Liked by 1 person

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