Harold Lloyd in “The Kid Brother”

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Harold Lloyd’s feature The Kid Brother was released on January 17, 1927.

In The Kid Brother, Lloyd stretched somewhat, venturing into what one thinks of as Keaton territory, a 19th century period piece. Lloyd had gotten the inspiration to do a film with this kind of rustic setting from the 1921 hit Tol’able David. The Kid Brother casts Harold as the youngest son in a very Bonanza-like family of manly men. The father, the town sheriff, is framed in the theft of town funds by some carnival con men, and it falls to Harold to find the true culprits, even as he is being bullied by his older, meaner brothers. To complicate matters, Lloyd is in love with a girl from the carnival (Jobyna Ralston), and he has been masquerading as the town sheriff, doing much damage thereby.

The picture is moodier and more beautiful to look at than most Lloyd pictures—looks more like Chaplin, Keaton or Langdon. The climax on a partially submerged riverboat also conjures a similar scene in Huckleberry Finn. But don’t let this talk of beauty fool ya. It’s full of hilarious gags, too.

For more on silent and slapstick comedy, including great Harold Lloyd movies like “The Kid Brother” don’t miss my new book Chain of Fools: Silent Comedy and Its Legacies from Nickelodeons to Youtube, just released by Bear Manor Media, also available from amazon.com etc etc etc

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