» » American Masters Harold Lloyd: The Third Genius (1985– )

American Masters Harold Lloyd: The Third Genius (1985– ) Online

American Masters Harold Lloyd: The Third Genius (1985– ) Online
Original Title :
Harold Lloyd: The Third Genius
Genre :
TV Episode / Documentary / Biography
Year :
Cast :
Harold Lloyd,Lindsay Anderson,David Chasman
Writer :
David Gill,Kevin Brownlow
Type :
TV Episode
Time :
1h 45min
Rating :
American Masters Harold Lloyd: The Third Genius (1985– ) Online

In this film, we explore the life, career and art of silent cinema's third major talent after Charles Chaplin and Buster Keaton, Harold Lloyd. We learn of his rise from a mere Chaplin rip off actor to a stellar talent when he found his own style of comedy which often involved outrageous stunts he performed even after his left hand was disfigured in an accident.
Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Harold Lloyd Harold Lloyd - Himself / 'Glasses' Character / Willie Work / Harlod Diddlebock / Harold Hall / Harold Horne / Lonesome Luke / Speedy / Harold Hickory / Dr. Jackson / Hottentott / Harold Lamb (archive footage)
Lindsay Anderson Lindsay Anderson - Narrator (voice)
David Chasman David Chasman - Himself
Jack Lemmon Jack Lemmon - Himself
Peter Robeck Peter Robeck - Himself
William Bakewell William Bakewell - Himself
Jack Davis Jack Davis - Himself - Brother-in-Law
Alva Lyons Alva Lyons - Himself
Gloria Lloyd Roberts Gloria Lloyd Roberts - Herself
Hal Roach Hal Roach - Himself
Jane Novak Jane Novak - Herself - Actress
Andrew L. Stone Andrew L. Stone - Himself - Theater Owner
Walter Kerr Walter Kerr - Himself
Frances Metzger Frances Metzger - Herself
Peggy Cartwright Peggy Cartwright - Herself

User reviews



In addition to BUSTER KEATON--A HARD ACT TO FOLLOW, this is about the best bio of silent comedians I have ever seen. While not as long and involved as the Keaton series, it was a top-notch production with wonderful information and facts throughout. In particular, they presented never before seen photos that showed HOW they did the seemingly dangerous stunts in SAFETY LAST and several other Lloyd movies. Now that he has been dead for many years, we find out that these incredibly dangerous movies weren't quite as dangerous as they looked--and this was all achieved thanks to the genius of Lloyd. The pictures actually show EXACTLY how these optical illusions were created--as for me, this made me admire the films even more--to achieve such spectacular results with the special effects of the 1920s is amazing. A wonderful documentary for all lovers of cinema and those in particular who love this great but forgotten comic.

FYI--Fortunately, while this is a nearly perfect film about Lloyd, there are also two wonderful similar documentaries about Charlie Chaplin (Unknown Chaplin) and Buster Keaton (Buster Keaton: A Hard Act to Follow)--both written by the same two writers who made this wonderful film. See them all if you get a chance!!


Starting with Hollywood in 1980 (which was produced in the late 1970s)Kenneth Brownlow had gathered material on the great silent film period that led to four documentary series. Hollywood was followed by THE UNKNOWN CHAPLIN, then one on Buster Keaton, and then (in 1989) HAROLD LLOYD; THE THIRD GENIUS. As an introduction to Lloyd's series of comic gems (like SAFETY LAST, THE FRESHMAN, SPEEDY, and THE KID BROTHER) it was delightful. It showed how Lloyd had spent years, watching the success of Chaplin, in trying to find a proper personae to make his own mark with. His initial character, "Lonesome Luke", was basically Chaplin's tramp with a reversal of characteristics (a mustache with two halves, not one, clothing that was to tight and short rather than too big, etc.). Gradually he began to consider how his character should be normal in appearance and in usual situations. But this normal character, through mishap or chance, would get into dangerous situations (like hanging from a clock on a building when trying to safely climb the side of the building as an advertising stunt). It turned out to be a good choice, and made Lloyd's reputation as a great comic actor. The series also looked into the curious late sound films, and how Lloyd's carefully built film personae could not survive in the sound period. But the best part of the series was the careful discussion of how Lloyd did some of those dangerous stunts. There were always small tricks to lessen the apparent dangers, but he did do his own stunts (and he did them with one hand that was badly disfigured in an accidental explosion that cost him three fingers). Altogether a remarkable story, superbly told.


. . . so it is pretty odd that this supposedly authoritative (as in the proverbial "last word") web site is combining Episode One and Episode Two into one solid block just because the Yankee "American Masters" program imported it years after its original run and reedited it into a shorter, one-piece show. It is as if this site had some underling from Thermia, who listed the official date for a movie called GONE WITH THE WIND as 1957, just because the Thermites were 18 years behind the times (due to the profligate spending of Thermian strongman Thierry Theman). Thus, we have a 1992 date for HAROLD LLOYD: THE THIRD GENIUS, and no ability to give the 56:07.17-long second episode the separate rating (distinct from Episode One) which it deserves by virtue of its format in its country of origin. That being said, this part of the Lloyd story documents how one of the few Lloyd groupies gained access to his film vault by romancing his daughter (they've since divorced), which hopefully was more comfortable than the sound of that flick from the 1900s, ROMANCING THE STONE.
Dancing Lion

Dancing Lion

Just when you thought it was safe to know about EITHER Charlie Chaplin OR Buster Keaton, a group of cranks has emerged from the film buffed woodwork to claim there was a "third genius" of silent films; namely, Harold Lloyd. These folks are trying to shame us into expanding our Pre-Talkies movie literacy beyond The Tramp and the Keystone Cops to encompass a milk-toast looking dude saddled with the Nom De Guerre of "Glasses." It turns out that Lloyd, a.k.a. Glasses, was more adept at trick camera angles and performing his own dare-devil stunts than either Chaplin or Keaton, dispensing with the concept of the film script to string together whatever the stunt coordinators thought up to produce so-called "thrill pictures." Even after a movie prop bomb went off unexpectedly, blowing away three of Lloyd's fingers, he persisted in popping on and off moving vehicles, careening down cliffs, and performing human fly stunts (most famously in his feature entitled SAFETY LAST!). Of these three silent "geniuses," Lloyd seems the one most suited to our current Generation Jackass.


This documentary is highly entertaining for lovers of cinema. Harold Lloyd was the first character actor to draw an audience's reaction through the use of situational comedy. He was mimicked and even outright plagiarized by those who followed him in the genre, namely Chaplin and Keaton. Lloyd was also one of the first actors to completely control his product, from inception to release, as he pioneered the use of movie previews to gauge audience reception. Lloyd is not to be overlooked as a tour-de-force of cinema.