Directed by Ted Wilde
"Speedy" loses his job as a soda-jerk, then spends the day with his girl at Coney Island. He then becomes a cab driver and delivers Babe Ruth to Yankee Stadium, where he stays to see the game. When the railroad tries to run the last horse-drawn trolley (operated by his girl's grandfather) out of business, "Speedy" organizes the neighborhood oldtimers to thwart their scheme.
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★★★½ review by Bobby Analog on Letterboxd
Coney Island rides in the 1920s were more horrifying than anything dreamed up in the entire Nightmare on Elm Street series.
I also dug this movie because there is a ten minute gag about a crab falling into Harold Lloyd's pocket and then it pinching unsuspecting bystanders. I told everyone about this scene at a pool party and not one person laughed. I am now ostracized and girls hate me.
★★★½ review by Chris on Letterboxd
Things I learned from the Criterion edition of Speedy:
1. Harold Lloyd didn't do as many stunts in this film as in Safety Last or The Freshman, but he was well-off and famous by the time he made Speedy so he didn't really need to risk his life anymore. It was a well kept secret that there was a stunt driver in a very impressive chase scene.
2. It's quick, but he does give his own reflection the finger.
3. Harold Lloyd, when not covered in make-up was a rather handsome man.
4. He got the cameraman from the studio to film all his home movies.
5. Every ride at Coney Island in the 20s was trying to kill you.
★★★½ review by Mike D'Angelo on Letterboxd
A.V. Club review. Such a fantastic record of New York in the late '20s that it's hard to pay attention to the foreground action.
★★★½ review by Peter Labuza on Letterboxd
"Lloyd balances Speedy’s gags with both the fantastic and the realistic, relying on his character’s obliviousness to find himself in social situations part in the Manhattan and Brooklyn locales that become absurd through naturally logical causation. A date at Coney Island where a live crab slips into his pocket becomes both a horny pincher that shows the all-too-innocent Lloyd having to display a mix of awkward innocence and self-righteous anger, which only exacerbates situations into higher absurdities."
★★★★ review by Dale Nauertz on Letterboxd
I was feeling glum. Then I watched "Speedy" and I felt better. That is the magic of movies. And I couldn't think of a more ringing endorsement for "Speedy".
Harold Lloyd plays Harold Swift. He can't hold down a job, but he loves his girl. He also loves her grandfather, who drives the last horse-drawn trolley in New York City. A big railroad is trying to buy out the grandfather's tracks and take them over. They've been unsuccessful at buying him out, but then discover that they merely have to keep him from operating the trolley for a twenty-four hour period and he'll lose his contract and his tracks and they will have them for themselves. Lloyd, a.k.a. "Speedy", learns of this sinister plot and commits himself to doing everything in his power to stop it.
But that plot only really kicks into high gear in the last half an hour. Before that we accompany Speedy and his girlfriend to Coney Island and see him fail at several jobs, most notably as a taxi driver. There are all sorts of wonderful little set pieces during this time that brought a consistent smile to my face. Some of them are hilarious, most of them are at least amusing, and all of them are highly inventive and delightful. The trip to Coney Island is full of inspired little gags (like the bit with the crab) and also provides a neat little time capsule of Coney Island during this time period. Ditto to the rest of the film, which captures New York City circa 1928 for posterity. Though it's greatest value is as a machine for making joy.
This is probably the second-best Lloyd film I have seen, right behind "Safety Last". It's energetic, often ingenious, and occasionally gut-busting. And it builds to a great, hilarious street brawl and a breakneck chase through the streets of New York with a horse-drawn trolley that satisfies my love of insane spectacle in these sorts of films. There's never a dull moment, or even a moment where I wasn't at least smiling.
Also, you get to see actual footage of Babe Ruth and you get to see the first instance of a man flipping the bird on film. So, y'know, historical significance.
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