GRANDMA’S BOY(director: Fred C. Newmeyer; screenwriters: Hal Roach/Jean Havez/Harold Lloyd/Sam Taylor/H.M. Walker; cinematographer: Walter Lundin; editor: T.J. Crizer; music: Robert Israel; cast: Harold Lloyd (Sonny), Mildred Davis (Mildred), Anna Townsend (Grandma), Charles Stevenson (The Bully), Dick Sutherland (The Tramp), Noah Young (The Sheriff); Runtime: 56; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Hal Roach; New Line; 1922-silent)
“Lloyd is good at showing humiliation.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
Harold Lloyd’s second feature, after the 1921 short A Sailor-Made Man. It was his first full-length comedy, and a more modest effort than his later and more famous works. It’s mildly funny— offering a few funny gags and some good physical comedy, but it’s mostly innocuous. Fred C. Newmeyer (“Safety Last”/”Girl Shy”) directs and a number of writers get credit for the screenplay, including Lloyd and Hal Roach.
It’s a rube comedy set in the country. In the quiet town of Blossom Bend, the 19-year-old Sonny (Harold Lloyd) is a nice guy but he’s meek and cowardly. The story is built around Sonny’s redemption as a coward. He courts the sweet Mildred (Mildred Davis), but is pushed aside by a bully (Charles Stevenson). Sonny retreats to his old-fashioned grandma’s (Anna Townsend) house after the bully throws him into a well and ruins his Sunday suit. Granny gives him grandpa’s old Sunday suit from 1860 to go courting Mildred. It turns out that is the same one Mildred’s black servant is wearing. There’s also a funny gag where Sonny mistakenly eats the mothballs removed from his suit, thinking it’s candy. When a dangerous tramp (Dick Sutherland) is wanted by the sheriff, Sonny is sworn into the posse and goes on the manhunt. Granny seeing how scared he is, gives him a lucky Zuni charm (in actuality only a handle from her umbrella). Thereby Sonny gains confidence and overcomes all his fears and single-handedly captures the wanted murderer. He then confronts the bully, and tosses him into the well. This new attitude wins him Mildred and she accepts his marriage proposal.
Lloyd is good at showing humiliation, conveying just the right amount of conviction to make his character sympathetic as an ‘everyman’ personification.
REVIEWED ON 6/25/2007 GRADE: B-
Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”
© ALL RIGHTS RESERVED DENNIS SCHWARTZ