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Harold Lloyd was one of the biggest stars of Hollywood's silent film era. Along with Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton, he dominated the silent comedy genre in the 1920s.

Lloyd started acting in high school. He made his film debut in 1913 and soon became partners with another up-and-comer, producer Hal Roach. Lloyd achieved fame with "Lonesome Luke", a fairly obvious imitation of Chaplin's Tramp character that nevertheless proved popular. However, Lloyd grew more ambitious and created his own persona, the "glasses" character that would be a movie fixture for twenty years. The "glasses" character, unlike Chaplin's tragicomic outsider and Keaton's somewhat cynical one, was more of an everyman, a determined, go-getting all-American type who usually got both the girl and the happy ending.

Lloyd split with Roach and became his own boss during his era of greatest success, the 1920s. Unlike Chaplin and Keaton, he never took credit as a writer or director of his films despite closely controlling all aspects of production. His films during these years became famous for thrilling, elaborate stuntwork and long chase sequences, all of which were performed by Lloyd himself.

Lloyd attempted to adapt the Glasses Character for talkies but met with gradually diminishing returns and was essentially retired by 1938. He held the copyright to most of his features and was reluctant to show them in revivals or on television, and consequently his reputation diminshed over the decades. Some of Lloyd's features were released on video in the early 1990s, and a DVD collection of features and shorts was finally released in 2005.


Lloyd films with their own pages:


His other movies provide examples of:

  • Banana Peel: The Flirt (1917).
  • Banana Republic: Lloyd goes to one in Why Worry? and ends up in the middle of a revolution.
  • Big Applesauce: Speedy was filmed on location.
  • Book Ends: The wrecked ship in the river that pops up in the background of an early scene in The Kid Brother is the location of the climactic fight.
  • The Cameo: Babe Ruth in Speedy. Yep.
  • Captain Ersatz: Lonesome Luke.
  • Construction Zone Calamity: Never Weaken
  • The Danza: His characters were usually named "Harold".
  • Everything's Better with Monkeys: One in a sailor suit causes much trouble for Harold in The Kid Brother.
  • Fake-Out Opening: Many of his films start with a misleading opening as a gag.
  • Flipping the Bird: In Speedy. In 1928. To his own reflection in a mirror.
  • Fun with Subtitles: In The Kid Brother Harold keeps calling out to the girl he likes as she walks farther and farther away, leading to a title card with a tiny "Goodbye" in the center of the screen.
    • To a far greater extent than Keaton or Chaplin, Lloyd used the title cards for gags.
  • Happy Ending: almost all of them.
  • Hollywood Driving: Speedy.
  • Interrupted Suicide: in the short film Never Weaken, Harold decides to kill himself after a misunderstanding leads him to believe his girl is marrying another. It goes hilariously wrong.
  • Literal Cliff Hanger: Much of the climactic building-climbing sequence to Safety Last, including the famous image of Lloyd hanging from the hands of a giant clock.
  • Magic Feather: The "magic amulet" in Grandma's Boy.
  • Medicine Show: The Kid Brother.
  • Meganekko: Arguably the most iconic male example of the trope.
  • Memetic Outfit: The horn rim glasses, to the point where Lloyd could walk around unrecognized when he wasn't wearing them (they were a prop, he didn't need them to see).
    • Usually, though not always, accompanied by a straw hat.
  • Missing Mom: The Kid Brother.
  • Nitro Boost: In the short Get Out and Get Under, Lloyd gives his car HEROIN to make it go faster.
  • No Name Given: if his characters weren't called "Harold" they were called "The Boy".
  • Not-So-Fake Prop Weapon: Real Life. In 1919 Lloyd was posing for photographs with a prop bomb. Unfortunately the not-prop bomb exploded, blowing off the thumb and first two fingers of his right hand. For the rest of his career, including all of the intricate action sequences that were such a hallmark of his 1920s films, Lloyd performed while wearing a specially-made glove designed to hide his injury.
  • Reveal Shot: Harold Lloyd loved using this for gags and did it many times.
  • Throw It In: Harold's horse-drawn trolley colliding with an elevated rail pillar in Speedy was not scripted.
  • Wag the Director: Lloyd was in charge of his movies. Of course, since many of them went down as classics, this is an unusually happy example of this trope.
  • Wedding Deadline: Harold's epic race to stop his girl from marrying a cad in Girl Shy.
  • "Well Done, Son" Guy: The Kid Brother. "Son, you're a real Hickory."

Harold Lloyd Shout Outs in fiction:

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