Wednesday, April 16, 2014
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New Harold Lloyd book explores laughs and landmarks of the great comedian's on-location classics

"Silent Visions: Discovering Early Hollywood and New York Through the Films of Harold Lloyd" - a must- have work of Golden Age Hollywood excavation

New Harold Lloyd book explores laughs and landmarks of the great comedian’s on-location classics

Silent Visions: Discovering Early Hollywood and New York Through the Films of Harold Lloyd is a stellar piece of cineastic detective work – 300-plus pages in which film historian John Bengtson explores the West Coast and East Coast locales of some of the Golden Age comedy icon’s most inspired romps.

Matching frame stills, publicity shots and archival photos with old maps and new pictures of the same locations, Bengtson takes the reader on an archaeological dig of sorts – showing how the physical landscapes and architecture have changed, and haven’t, over the many decades since Lloyd starred in such brilliantl, breakneck farces as Girl Shy, Safety Last! and Speedy. (For East Coasters, 1927’s Speedy is of particular note: Lloyd (whose real-life nickname was Speedy) goes on an epic and anarchic trip around New York, to Coney Island, Yankee Stadium (driving a cab with the real Babe Ruth), the grand old Pennsylvania Station and scores of other stops through Brooklyn, the Bronx and upper and lower Manhattan.)

For Lloyd fans, Bengtson’s book, published by Santa Monica Press, is a must. And for historic architecture and urban design buffs, the book is likewise indispensible. An unusual and commendably obsessive undertaking!

Here’s a link to the publisher’s Silent Visions page.

Steven Rea Inquirer Movie Columnist and Critic
About this blog

Steven Rea has been an Inquirer movie critic since 1992. He was born in London, raised in New York City, and has lived in Los Angeles, San Francisco and Iowa City, Iowa. His column, "On Movies," appears Sundays in Arts & Entertainment, his reviews appear in the Weekend section on Fridays, and his blog, On Movies Online, can be found here. He is a member of the National Society of Film Critics.

Steven Rea's previous blog posts can be found here. Read his most recent columns and reviews, here. He is the author of the book “Hollywood Rides a Bike,” and also curates the movie stars and bicycling photo blog, Rides A Bike.

Reach Steven at srea@phillynews.com.

Steven Rea Inquirer Movie Columnist and Critic
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