Cast & Crew
"Speedy," who is unable to hold a job, comes to the rescue when his girl's grandfather nearly loses his horsecar franchise. A gang of men steal the car and hide it on the riverfront, but "Speedy" finds it, drives it furiously through the crowded streets, and gets it back on the track in time to make the daily run.
In this, his final silent film, Lloyd plays Harold "Speedy" Swift, whose enthusiasm for baseball interferes with his holding a job. Speedy's sweetheart (Ann Christy) is the granddaughter of the owner of the last horse-drawn trolley in New York City, which is stolen by railway magnates that covet its route. The film's climax comes as Speedy recovers the trolley and makes a mad dash to get it back on its route. During filming at the Brooklyn Bridge, the trolley crashed by accident into the steel pillars adjoining the bridge, providing an unexpectedly vivid scene when the smash-up was captured by the camera and left in the movie with little editing.
The movie's location shooting provides today's audiences with fascinating views of New York City as it looked in the late 1920s, including many buildings that have since vanished. Scenes were shot at the old Penn Station, the Queensboro Bridge, Columbus Circle, Wall Street, Yankee Stadium and Coney Island's Luna Park, with Lloyd attracting large numbers of onlookers wherever he was working. For the Luna Park sequence Walter Lundin, Lloyd's regular cameraman, made use of actual Coney Island crowds to lend the film a documentary-like feeling.
The great Babe Ruth has a delightful cameo in Speedy, playing himself as a nervous passenger during Speedy's short-lived career as a cabdriver. After a daredevil ride to Yankee Stadium, Speedy settles into the stands to watch his famous fare step into action on the baseball diamond.
Lloyd was a top draw during this period, outpacing both Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton to be named in exhibitor polls as the number-one box office attraction in the U.S. Speedy, thanks to the cost of relocating Lloyd and his crew of 35 from Hollywood to Manhattan, was a very expensive movie for its day, costing a quarter of a million more than Lloyd's previous film, The Kid Brother (1927).
Speedy was a hit both in the U.S. and abroad, earning total grosses of more than $2 million. Director Ted Wilde was nominated for an Oscar for his work on the film. Although Lloyd had some success in talking films, his masterpieces were made for the silent screen. Speedy allowed him to say farewell to an era in great style.
Producer: Harold Lloyd
Director: Ted Wilde
Screenplay: John Grey, Jay Howe, Lex Neal, Howard Emmett Rogers, Albert DeMond (titles), Paul Girard Smith (uncredited).
Cinematography: Walter Lundin
Principal Cast: Harold Lloyd (Harold "Speedy" Swift), Ann Christy (Jane Dillon), Bert Woodruff (Pop Dillon), Brooks Benedict (Steven Carter), Babe Ruth (Himself).
by Roger Fristoe
"Speedy" is Harold Lloyd's real-life nickname, given to him by his father.
The streetcar crash into the elevated train support was an unplanned accident (no one was injured); the idea of replacing the broken wheel with a manhole cover had to be improvised on the scene.
Filmed extensively on location in New York City. The slums scenes, however, were built and shot on a backlot in Los Angeles.
As part of the first Academy Awards, Ted Wilde received a certificate of honorable mention in the Directing (Comedy Picture) category.
Released in United States 1928
Released in United States 2001
Released in United States 2015
Shown at Telluride Film Festival August 31 - September 3, 2001.
Released in United States 1928
Released in United States 2001 (Shown at Telluride Film Festival August 31 - September 3, 2001.)
Released in United States 2015 (Special Screenings (Newly Restored Print with score by DJ Z-Trip))