Now or Never
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Now or Never (1921), a three-reel Harold Lloyd comedy, is considered one of his most delightful shorts. Much of the film's charm comes from Lloyd's rapport with child actress Anna May Bilson, who plays Dolly, a lonely little girl in the charge of Harold's babysitting girlfriend, Mary (played by Mildred Davis, the actress who would soon become Mrs. Harold Lloyd). Mary takes Dolly along on a short trip to see her boyfriend. It turns out to be Harold, of course, who somehow ends up on the same train. When Mary discovers that her employer also is aboard, she is forced to hide and leaves Dolly in Harold's care. Harold, who has no money and no ticket, must elude the conductor. This leads to a series of exciting gags, reaching a climax as a tunnel approaches with Harold on top of the train.
At the time of Now or Never Lloyd was entering the prime of his career; it was during the 1920s that he became the highest- paid actor in Hollywood, and often outstripped his closest rivals, Charles Chaplin and Buster Keaton, at the box office. The year before Now or Never, during the filming of Haunted Spooks (1920), Lloyd suffered an accident in which he lost his right thumb and forefinger, forcing him to wear a glove-like prosthesis in all future films.
Producer/Director: Hal Roach
Original Music: Robert Israel
Principal Cast: Harold Lloyd (The Boy), Mildred Davis (Mary), Anna May Bilson (Dolly).
by Roger Fristoe