The Kid Brother (1927)
Genre: Silent Comedy Family Romance
Starring: Harold Lloyd (Girl Shy; Safety Last!), Jobyna Ralston (Wings; The Freshman)
Overview: The youngest boy of the famous law-keeping Hickorys gets no respect. When someone makes off with the money for the new dam, he gets his sensitive butt in gear to get it back.
Acting: Harold Lloyd, sadly, is one of these guys who didn't seem to make it through the ages. History will not remember him as they do Marx, Stooges or Chaplin, but his style is very much 'Buster Keaton'. This guy is an amazing, hilarious physical comic, and how he's not remembered is beyond me. Everyone else did a great job, but this actor is one to watch. I'll see more of his stuff for sure.
Cinematography: The sets are as intricate as ever, and the choreography is as elaborate as any Jackie Chan film. In fact, I'd bet Jackie has seen all these slapstick comedy stunt films about 100 times, they're so reminiscent. This is physical comedy at its best. Don't let this one pass you by, it's really exiting to watch.
Script: The script was well written, nice and simple and the characters did not speak endlessly without explanatory notes (as happens from time to time, especially in earlier silent film). There's just enough in the script to clarify motives and desires without bogging us down with too much story. Rather they let the story tell itself through the actions of the characters. Awesome.
Plot: The story is pretty human, and though not the most original tale, has some great scenes, like faking to be the girl who stayed overnight, and the little mistaken identity twists. The grand finale with the theif chasing and the cart ride has so many amazing stunts that it'll have you on the edge of your seat!
Mood: A full orchestra rather than some lonely piano playing the same tired 3 tunes over and over certainly gets points. Silent film may be fantastic, but sometimes the musical accompaniment is attrocious (sorry Metropolis). Aside from that praise, the good old feel of a silent western with old ships, sheriffs and travelling snake oil salesmen perfectly compliments this type of film. Very fun and immersive.
Overall Rating: 82% (Kid Brother is a Big Hit!)
Aftertaste: After having seen a few thrillers, tragedies and heavy dramas, getting back to some simple and stunning piece of old-school comedy is a really nice change. This is one of the films on 1001 Movies list of mine and without a doubt this deserves to be on it. Rather than some 'important historical piece', it's genuinely a good movie on its own merit, and is definately a Classic worthy of any repertoire. So glad I saw it. Now that I know he exists, I want to see more Lloyd material. So Sweet!