Hot Water (1924)
It's not just for its humor that Hot Water is so often chopped up for other movies. Lloyd constructed this comedy in such a way that it could easily be taken apart if need be. Movie exhibitors had put Lloyd in hot water for his last film Girl Shy (1924). It was a big hit, but at 8,000 feet (almost two hours at silent speed) was deemed too long. Comedies then were seen as the appetizer to a dramatic film in a double feature, not as the main dish. To please the movie showmen, Lloyd built Hot Water as a series of sequences that could be easily shortened, all loosely linked as events in a day in the life of a newlywed husband.
The first section is one of the best and most famous sequences in Lloyd's movies. Sent off for groceries, he ends up winning a live turkey in a raffle. Walking the huge bird on a leash like a pet, Lloyd is forced to return home on a crowded trolley car. The second section sees Lloyd taking his wife and in-laws for a spin in his new car, a "Butterfly Six," and the last section has Harold pursued by his sleepwalking mother-in-law.
Much like the can-do character he played on screen, Lloyd and his film schema became a huge success. Variety noted, "At a hide-away showing [what we would now call an advance screening] there was no questioning the final result. They laughed plenty, often and loud." The Film Daily, then a magazine for exhibitors, also pounded the drum for Hot Water; "Boys, it's a short five reels and you can turn this over to a whale of a profit." That's exactly what exhibitors did. The film was Lloyd's biggest moneymaker to date earning $1,730,324 at the box office. The grateful exhibitors, in a poll taken in 1924, the year of the release of Hot Water, declared Harold Lloyd their number one draw.
Director: Fred C. Newmeyer, Sam Taylor
Screenplay: John Wesley Grey, Sam Taylor
Cinematography: Walter Lundin
Film Editing: Allen McNeil
Principal Cast: Harold Lloyd (Hubby), Jobyna Ralston (Wifey, Miss Stokes), Josephine Crowell (Mrs. Winnefred Ward Stokes).
by Brian Cady