For Heaven’s Sake (1926)

“We’ll just kidnap Manners and argue it out with him back at the Club.”

Synopsis:
A carefree millionaire (Harold Lloyd) falls in love with the daughter (Jobyna Ralston) of a missionary (Paul Weigel), and helps fund the construction of their new mission; but when he proposes to Ralston, his wealthy pals decide to save him from his “mistake” by kidnapping him.

Genres:

Review:
Made in between two of Harold Lloyd’s most beloved features — The Freshman (1925) and The Kid Brother (1927) — For Heaven’s Sake was reportedly not one of Lloyd’s personal favorites among his oeuvre; he cut it down in length to just under an hour in response to initial audience reactions, yet was “still so unhappy that he offered to buy the film back from the studio”. There’s actually some truth to Lloyd’s dissatisfaction, given that the overly simplistic narrative doesn’t really allow much room for development: Lloyd’s character shifts too quickly from self-absorbed playboy to magnanimous mission worker, and the kidnapping subplot comes literally out of nowhere, with a posse of “friends” suddenly showing up who we’ve never seen before. However, this merely serves as the narrative springboard for the film’s stunning finale, which begins with a series of amusingly conceived drunken antics by Lloyd’s “rescuers”, and leads to a handful of daringly accomplished physical stunts involving numerous moving vehicles. Ultimately, however, this one is only must-see for Lloyd fans; others will want to stick with watching his most celebrated successes.

Redeeming Qualities and Moments:

  • Several amusing sequences
  • The stunningly executed finale

Must See?
No, though of course it’s a must for fans of Harold Lloyd.

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One Response to “For Heaven’s Sake (1926)”

  1. First viewing. Not must-see.

    It’s a shame this film isn’t better than it is (what’s left of it, apparently). The premise has promise – and it seems a solid base for comic situations. So the result is a missed opportunity. A number of the gags are set up well but perhaps the film as a whole wasn’t conceived sharply enough at the time of shooting. …We’ll never know.

    Unlike Keaton and Chaplin – who more or less kept to one persona throughout their silents (perhaps to keep audiences in a comfort zone and, thereby, secure them), Lloyd sheds his standard, dweeb personality here to stretch himself as an actor. The character switch pays off for him (he’s believable as a rich, insular snob) – but, like the overall film, his performance is somewhat pulled out from under him due to everything seeming so rushed.

    Bottom line: it’s not a terrible movie, it’s still reasonably entertaining – it’s just not one you need to make sure to see.

    Fave bit: Lloyd pushes a bunch of guys into a revolving door – they all get stuck in it – so he then has to make his way through to the other side of it to pull each one of them out.

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