Movie Crazy


1h 21m 1932
Movie Crazy

Brief Synopsis

A stagestruck young actor accidentally receives somebody else's invitation to test in Hollywood.

Film Details

Genre
Comedy
Romance
Family
Release Date
Sep 23, 1932
Premiere Information
World premiere: Portland, Maine: 17 Aug 1932; New York premiere: 14 Sep 1932
Production Company
Harold Lloyd Corp.
Distribution Company
Paramount Publix Corp.
Country
United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 21m
Sound
Mono (Western Electric Recording)
Color
Black and White
Film Length
10 reels

Synopsis

Amateur actor Harold Hall from Littleton, Kansas, mistakenly sends another man's photo to Planet Studios in Hollywood and is offered a screen test. Once in Hollywood, the naïve and clumsy Harold is asked to be an extra on a film set, then bumbles the job, but falls in love with the leading character of the film, the "Spanish lady," played by Mary Sears. Harold then reports to L. J. O'Brien of Planet Films who, expecting the handsome man of the photo, angrily dismisses Harold, while insisting his staff screen test "Harold Hall." After failing the test miserably, Harold is caught in a rainstorm with Mary, whom he does not know is the Spanish lady. By the time Harold and Mary arrive at her apartment, soaked, she has nicknamed him "Trouble," pleased to meet a man who has not made a pass at her upon their first meeting. Later, dressed as the Spanish lady, Mary coaxes Harold into giving her his fraternity pin, although she knows he told Mary it was reserved for the girl. In her own clothes, Mary then accuses Harold of being a cad, but they kiss and he promises to get the pin back. Mary continues the façade until poor Harold kisses the Spanish lady, after which Mary writes a note on the back of an invitation to a Hollywood party asking never to see him again. Harold reads the wrong side of Mary's card and goes to the party believing he is Mary's guest. There he causes a great disturbance when he mistakenly dons a magician's coat in the washroom and numerous gags are released on the dance floor, including a litter of mice and a bunny. When the magician finally discovers who is wearing his coat, Harold is thrown out of the party. Later Mary reveals her identity to Harold behind the costume of the Spanish lady, and her drunken suitor Vance, seeing Harold on the set, knocks him out in a basket. Harold then wakes up during the film's shooting and continues to fight Vance while the set is flooded for the film's climax. Meanwhile, with the cameras still rolling, the film's producer, Mr. Kitterman, walks on the set and, finding Harold unbelievably funny, offers him a contract. Harold assures Mary, however, that his fight with Vance was for real, and they are reconciled.

Film Details

Genre
Comedy
Romance
Family
Release Date
Sep 23, 1932
Premiere Information
World premiere: Portland, Maine: 17 Aug 1932; New York premiere: 14 Sep 1932
Production Company
Harold Lloyd Corp.
Distribution Company
Paramount Publix Corp.
Country
United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 21m
Sound
Mono (Western Electric Recording)
Color
Black and White
Film Length
10 reels

Articles

Movie Crazy


Harold Hall (Harold Lloyd) is a literal small-town boy from Littletown, Kansas obsessed with all things celluloid. When Harold accidentally sends a photo of a handsome young man to Hollywood's Planet Studios, executive J.L. O'Brien (Spencer Charters) invites Hall out to Tinseltown for a screen test. Harold's bewildered father offers to buy his starry-eyed son a round-trip ticket but Harold will have none of that, convinced that his life's destiny awaits. "When I come back I'll come rolling in a Rolls Royce" he tells his father.

Just seconds off the train at Los Angeles's Union Station, Harold appears to get his first big break -- a role as an extra in a production filming at the station. In no time, Harold has inflated his role to a starring one and reduced the set to chaos. Thus begins a string of hilariously fumbling attempts by Harold to break into the movie industry.

Harold eventually scores a thoroughly disastrous screen test which manages to further outrage executive O'Brien. But he soon discovers something better than his career when he meets a beautiful actress Mary Sears (Constance Cummings) who warms to his goofy charms, which provide a refreshing break from the possessive, drunken affections of actor-beau Vance (Kenneth Thomson).

Many consider Harold Lloyd's Movie Crazy (1932) his best sound film of the seven talkies he made. The film is especially appreciated by modern film fans for its glimpse of early talkie-era film production techniques. But despite critical acclaim, like Variety's pronouncement "Movie Crazy is a 100% click. Sure-fire belly laugh-getter anywhere" the film failed to enjoy box office success, undoubtedly due to its release during the worst phase of the Depression.

Movie Crazy was made after Lloyd's two year sabbatical from film and contained elements of his personal history, such as Lloyd's own small-town origins in Burchard, Nebraska. Harold Hall's efforts to adapt himself to the new sound-era Hollywood also paralleled Lloyd's own struggles to translate silent success to talkie triumph.

Lloyd was rumored to have screened Movie Crazy for an audience of deaf mutes to test the feasibility of releasing the film as a silent in Europe, and reported that that preview audience was able to follow about 90 percent of the action. Lloyd saw Movie Crazy as a way to recapture his adoring movie audience of the twenties, and so loaded the film with ample moments of the silent, physical comedy he was known for, though he failed to integrate essential ingredients of the talkies like a musical score.

Movie Crazy's director was Clyde Bruckman, a top notch comedy craftsman and writer on projects such as Buster Keaton's Sherlock, Jr. (1924) and The General (1927), who had one fatal flaw: a debilitating drinking problem. Lloyd reported that during the production of Movie Crazy, Bruckman "had a little difficulty with the bottle and we practically had to wash him out and I had to carry on." Despite directing the majority of the film himself, Lloyd ended up giving Bruckman sole credit as director and went on to work with him on many subsequent pictures including Welcome Danger (1929) and Professor Beware (1938). However, Bruckman's drinking and legal problems eventually made him unemployable and in 1955 he shot himself with Buster Keaton's pistol.

In 1949 Lloyd revived Movie Crazy to moderate success, with Time magazine commenting that it - "was not one of Lloyd's best, but compared with most recent film comedies, it sparkles like vintage champagne." But despite his determination to make it as a talkie comic, Lloyd unfortunately never recaptured the glory or the laughs of his silent classics like Safety Last (1923) and The Freshman (1925).

Director: Clyde Bruckman
Producer: Harold Lloyd
Screenplay: Vincent Lawrence based on a story by Agnes Christine Johnston, John Grey, Felix Adler
Cinematography: Walter Lundin
Production Design: William MacDonald, Harry Oliver
Cast: Harold Lloyd (Harold Hall), Constance Cummings (Mary Sears), Kenneth Thomson (Vance, A Gentleman Heavy), Sydney Jarvis (The Director), Eddie Fetherston (Bill, the Assistant Director), Robert McWade (Wesley Kitterman, the Producer), Louise Closser Hale (Mrs. Kitterman, His Wife), Spencer Charters (J.L. O'Brien).
BW-80m.

by Felicia Feaster
Movie Crazy

Movie Crazy

Harold Hall (Harold Lloyd) is a literal small-town boy from Littletown, Kansas obsessed with all things celluloid. When Harold accidentally sends a photo of a handsome young man to Hollywood's Planet Studios, executive J.L. O'Brien (Spencer Charters) invites Hall out to Tinseltown for a screen test. Harold's bewildered father offers to buy his starry-eyed son a round-trip ticket but Harold will have none of that, convinced that his life's destiny awaits. "When I come back I'll come rolling in a Rolls Royce" he tells his father. Just seconds off the train at Los Angeles's Union Station, Harold appears to get his first big break -- a role as an extra in a production filming at the station. In no time, Harold has inflated his role to a starring one and reduced the set to chaos. Thus begins a string of hilariously fumbling attempts by Harold to break into the movie industry. Harold eventually scores a thoroughly disastrous screen test which manages to further outrage executive O'Brien. But he soon discovers something better than his career when he meets a beautiful actress Mary Sears (Constance Cummings) who warms to his goofy charms, which provide a refreshing break from the possessive, drunken affections of actor-beau Vance (Kenneth Thomson). Many consider Harold Lloyd's Movie Crazy (1932) his best sound film of the seven talkies he made. The film is especially appreciated by modern film fans for its glimpse of early talkie-era film production techniques. But despite critical acclaim, like Variety's pronouncement "Movie Crazy is a 100% click. Sure-fire belly laugh-getter anywhere" the film failed to enjoy box office success, undoubtedly due to its release during the worst phase of the Depression. Movie Crazy was made after Lloyd's two year sabbatical from film and contained elements of his personal history, such as Lloyd's own small-town origins in Burchard, Nebraska. Harold Hall's efforts to adapt himself to the new sound-era Hollywood also paralleled Lloyd's own struggles to translate silent success to talkie triumph. Lloyd was rumored to have screened Movie Crazy for an audience of deaf mutes to test the feasibility of releasing the film as a silent in Europe, and reported that that preview audience was able to follow about 90 percent of the action. Lloyd saw Movie Crazy as a way to recapture his adoring movie audience of the twenties, and so loaded the film with ample moments of the silent, physical comedy he was known for, though he failed to integrate essential ingredients of the talkies like a musical score. Movie Crazy's director was Clyde Bruckman, a top notch comedy craftsman and writer on projects such as Buster Keaton's Sherlock, Jr. (1924) and The General (1927), who had one fatal flaw: a debilitating drinking problem. Lloyd reported that during the production of Movie Crazy, Bruckman "had a little difficulty with the bottle and we practically had to wash him out and I had to carry on." Despite directing the majority of the film himself, Lloyd ended up giving Bruckman sole credit as director and went on to work with him on many subsequent pictures including Welcome Danger (1929) and Professor Beware (1938). However, Bruckman's drinking and legal problems eventually made him unemployable and in 1955 he shot himself with Buster Keaton's pistol. In 1949 Lloyd revived Movie Crazy to moderate success, with Time magazine commenting that it - "was not one of Lloyd's best, but compared with most recent film comedies, it sparkles like vintage champagne." But despite his determination to make it as a talkie comic, Lloyd unfortunately never recaptured the glory or the laughs of his silent classics like Safety Last (1923) and The Freshman (1925). Director: Clyde Bruckman Producer: Harold Lloyd Screenplay: Vincent Lawrence based on a story by Agnes Christine Johnston, John Grey, Felix Adler Cinematography: Walter Lundin Production Design: William MacDonald, Harry Oliver Cast: Harold Lloyd (Harold Hall), Constance Cummings (Mary Sears), Kenneth Thomson (Vance, A Gentleman Heavy), Sydney Jarvis (The Director), Eddie Fetherston (Bill, the Assistant Director), Robert McWade (Wesley Kitterman, the Producer), Louise Closser Hale (Mrs. Kitterman, His Wife), Spencer Charters (J.L. O'Brien). BW-80m. by Felicia Feaster

Quotes

Trivia

Clyde Bruckman is the credited director when most of the film was actually directed by Harold Lloyd due to Bruckman's alcoholism.

This was the first film that Harold Lloyd worked with a full script of prepared dialogue.

The final climax of the picture on board of the ship between Harold and Vance was basically reworked from Lloyd's Kid Brother, The (1927). The film was also shot with a silent film camera to re-create the Lloyd silent technique and the sound effects and dialogue were recorded in post-production.

Notes

This was Harold Lloyd's first film following a two-year absence from the screen. While Lloyd is regarded by film historians as one of the top silent film comedians, modern critics have called this his best sound film. It is noted for its rare authentic look into Hollywood filmmaking in the early days of talkies. Hollywood Reporter noted a sustained audience laugh at this film's preview "clocked at 17 minutes" which "bordered on hysteria." When Lloyd re-issued this film in 1949 at a length of 81 minutes, the New Statesman and Nation called him only a "mildly appealing" comedian. A Hollywood Reporter news item on September 26, 1932 states that Lloyd screened Movie Crazy for ten deaf mutes to test the idea of releasing it as a silent in Europe. Lloyd claimed that the deaf audience was able to follow about ninety-percent of the film's plot. A modern source lists the following character names: Harold Goodwin (Miller, a director), DeWitt Jennings (Mr. Hall), Lucy Beaumont (Mrs. Hall), Noah Young (Traffic cop) and Constantine Romanoff (Sailor in movie).

Miscellaneous Notes

Released in United States 1932

Released in United States 1993

Released in United States 1932

Released in United States 1993 (Shown at AFI/Los Angeles International Film Festival (European Cinema) June 10 - July 1, 1993.)