Wallace Howe

High and Dizzy (1920, Hal Roach)

Sometimes low concept is the best concept. High and Dizzy concerns a drunken Harold Lloyd and his adventures about town with his sidekick, played by Roy Brooks. Lloyd and Brooks get into all sorts of trouble, some predictable, some not, and it just makes for a pleasant comedy.

It helps, of course, Lloyd can be acrobatic–whether he’s scaling a building or just hopping over a desk–because it maintains the action quotient.

Dizzy‘s not just about a drunken Lloyd, however. It’s about a failing new doctor drunken Lloyd who’s in love with a patient. The short’s structure is, though contrived, rather nice. At the beginning, a sober Lloyd falls for Mildred Davis. He falls so hard, he doesn’t even get her diagnosis, which comes back as a plot point later.

Roach, as usual, competently directs without being interesting.

The finale’s a little forced, but Dizzy‘s already succeeded.



Produced and directed by Hal Roach; written by Frank Terry; director of photography, Walter Lundin; released by Pathé Exchange.

Starring Harold Lloyd (The Boy), Roy Brooks (His Friend), Mildred Davis (The Girl) and Wallace Howe (Her Father).

It’s a Gift (1923, Hugh Fay)

It’s a Gift has such a great plot, it’s impossible it’s going to succeed. There’s a gasoline crisis so the losing oil companies decide to get rid of petroleum all together and instead use a synthetic.

The oil barons approach ‘Snub’ Pollard, an inventor.

The inventions are Gift‘s primary appeal. There are all sorts of contraptions to make regular life (waking, breakfast, dressing) easier. But the space is also conserved by items suiting dual purpose. Part of the pleasure is discovering those purposes.

Because, otherwise, Gift has little to recommend it. Director Fay handles the eventual manic action quite well, but leading man Pollard is lifeless. He’s not convincing as an absent-minded professor.

The script’s lazy and contrived, though there is one scene where Pollard almost gets someone drowned before running off. It’s easily the most exciting scene.

Gift is short, which helps a little. But not much.

1/3Not Recommended


Directed by Hugh Fay; produced by Hal Roach; released by Pathé Exchange.

Starring ‘Snub’ Pollard (Inventor Pollard), Marie Mosquini (The Girl), William Gillespie (Weller Pump, oil executive), Wallace Howe (Customer) and Mark Jones (Swindler).

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