Freshman, The (1925)

“I’ve got a new one on Speedy: he thinks he made the football team, and he’s only the water boy!”

Synopsis:
An enthusiastic student (Harold Lloyd) looks forward to becoming a freshman in college, where he imagines he will be the most popular guy on campus; but much to the chagrin of his new sweetheart (Jobyna Ralston), he becomes a laughing stock instead.

Genres:

Response to Peary’s Review:
Peary writes that “Harold Lloyd usually played cheery characters who wouldn’t be denied success at whatever it is they want” — and his performance here as “Speedy” is no exception. He argues that while the section in which Lloyd “is determined to be the star of the big game” remains “one of Lloyd’s most hilarious sequences”, the “entire film is filled with great comedy” — especially the “noteworthy” party sequence in which “Lloyd wears a hastily sewn tux which unravels a piece at a time”. Peary writes that “other gags remind [him] of Buster Keaton”, and argues that the “film is ideal to be on a double bill with Keaton’s College.” I’m in agreement with Peary’s enthusiasm. While it’s painful to see Lloyd’s character remain a deluded chump for so long, we take solace in the love he receives from his sweet, loyal girlfriend (Ralston), and feel inspired by his inability to let the opinions of others color his own self-worth. Among the many Lloyd titles listed in GFTFF, this remains one of the few — along with Grandma’s Boy (1922), Safety Last! (1923), and The Sin of Harold Diddlebock (1947) — that all film fanatics should check out.

Redeeming Qualities and Moments:

  • Several cleverly conceived comedic sequences
  • The genuinely sweet romance between Lloyd and Ralston

Must See?
Yes, as one of Lloyd’s most famous and popular films.

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One Response to “Freshman, The (1925)”

  1. First viewing. Not must-see, though it’s certainly amiable enough as an entertainment.

    – and, although I prefer Buster Keaton when it comes to silent comedy, I’ll probably take Lloyd over Charlie Chaplin. That said, I would steer ffs toward ‘Safety Last!’ and ‘Grandma’s Boy’ before recommending ‘The Freshman’, which I don’t find as satisfying or as strong a work.

    Fave extended sequence comes midway, when Lloyd is suddenly called on to be the ‘practice dummy’ for the football team.

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