|Harold Lloyd in Speedy|
Lloyd had a company of excellent gag writers who could make the comic most of any situation. He visited an amusement park in the 1920 short “Number, Please?” but expanded the idea into a hilarious Coney Island sequence for “Speedy,” no doubt the result of the extended New York stay he and his crew gave themselves. And it hardly matters that the sequence advances the plot not a bit – the gags are what matter and the gags are terrific.
A fight scene pitting a gaggle of greybeards against a gang of young toughs is as funny as a fight can be, each new twist in the action topping the last. Most modern comedies lack this kind of inventiveness, which still seems fresh 75 years later.
|The Alloy Orchestra|
If Prokofiev had written for the old Max Fleischer cartoon’s, he might have approximated the musical style of the Alloy Orchestra. At times it sounds like Danny Elfman’s more antic scores.
Even a knockabout film like “Speedy” (the title salutes Lloyd’s own nickname) requires music of depth and complexity, and it was astonishing to hear what a couple of keyboards, an accordion, a saxophone and a junkyard of found percussion devices can do. The film’s gags spring from our eternal conflict with our environment; the music, especially with all those drums and cymbals, springs from our wish to order and subdue that environment.
|Lloyd with guest star|
Starring Harold Lloyd; music by the Alloy Orchestra
MASS MoCA, June 29, 2003
– Metroland Magazine, July 3, 2003