Harold Lloyd in His Thrill Comedy “High and Dizzy”

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Today the anniversary of the release date of the Harold Lloyd comedy High and Dizzy (1920). The title is the best possible; it has a double meaning. Not only does it refer to the fact that it’s one of Lloyd’s Thrill Comedies (placing the hero ever so improbably on an upper story ledge of a tall skyscraper), but it also alludes to the fact that the hero is good and soused in the event.

Lloyd plays a doctor fresh out of med school who has no patients. His phone has cobwebs on it. He sits playing solitaire, and disguises himself as other patients to impress a couple who are sittting in his waiting room. He examines a girl who has a sleepwalking problem (Mildred Davis). Unfortunately, he falls in love with her, so her father (Wallace Howe) skirts her away. Depressed, he gets drunk with his friend (Roy Brooks) on home-made bootleg whiskey. Lots of crazy drunken shenanigans out of the Chaplin playbook ensue, culminating in the crazy predicament of a drunken Harold encountering his sleepwalking Mildred on a window ledge. His hair-raising (the fright wig makes that literal) efforts to retrieve her make up the meat of this hilarious picture.

For more on silent and slapstick comedy, including Harold Lloyd classics like “High and Dizzy”, don’t miss my new book: Chain of Fools: Silent Comedy and Its Legacies from Nickelodeons to Youtube, just released by Bear Manor Mediaalso available from amazon.com etc etc etc

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