The Coolidge continues to offer a robust film history course, going back to the silent era again for one of slapstick comedian Harold Lloyd’s signature films, Speedy. Produced at the very end of the silent film era in America, this 1928 feature was the last silent film that the popular Lloyd would appear in. A travelogue of New York City, the film is famous for a cameo by Babe Ruth, probably the most recognizable person in the United States (if not the world) in that year. Lloyd is not remembered or re-screened as often today as his contemporaries, Buster Keaton and Charlie Chaplin (the most recognizable of silent film stars to contemporary audiences), but he was just as big a star at the time, known for a daredevil brand of physical comedy.
To make sure the film is seen as it was meant to be seen, the Coolidge presentation will be accompanied by live music by MIT music professor Marty Marks. It should be as different of a silent film experience from last month’s Passion of Joan of Arc as you can imagine.
In other early film comedian screenings, the Boston Brats are hosting their monthly screening of Laurel & Hardy shorts. The Brats are one of the longest-running “lodges” of the Sons of the Desert, the fraternal order dedicated to the appreciation of Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy’s films. More well-known for their early-1930s talkies at Hal Roach’s studio, Stan and Ollie were silent film stars first. Out of all of the early American film comedians, Laurel and Hardy are the ones I love the most. The Brats don’t list their titles in advance, so it’s a surprise every time. If you are unfamiliar with Stan and Ollie, take a half-hour out of your day and watch their Oscar-winning short The Music Box which is just a YouTube click away.
Screening this week at the Coolidge Corner Theatre at 7:00pm on Thursday, April 5 as part of the series “The Sounds of Silents”. More information about the Boston Brats can be found at their charmingly Web 1.0 website.