“Every man is the architect of his own fortune.”
A recently fired accountant (Harold Lloyd) goes on a bender for the first time and becomes the owner of a circus, which he must then find a way to unload.
Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:
- Carnivals and Circuses
- Harold Lloyd Films
- Preston Sturges Films
Response to Peary’s Review:
Peary labels this creative collaboration of silent comedian Harold Lloyd and writer-director Preston Sturges “disappointing but mildly amusing”. He accurately points out that it contains strong elements of both men’s prior work, given that the film literally opens with an extended clip from Lloyd’s silent classic The Freshman (1925), and is based upon a similar premise as Sturges’ The Miracle of Morgan’s Creek (1944) (with an unseen alcoholic bender producing hilariously challenging consequences). In truth, I think Peary underestimates this controversial film, which was inexplicably pulled from circulation, drastically edited, and renamed Mad Wednesday; it’s actually a most enjoyable slapstick comedy, filled with healthy doses of satirical humor. In his final film, Lloyd (looking MUCH younger than his 54 years) is at the top of his game, and Sturges’ script provides nonstop enjoyment until about 2/3rds of the way through, when Lloyd’s nonsensical plan to try to rid himself of his circus by visiting the offices of prominent bankers in Manhattan temporarily derails the story. Fortunately, things get back on track during the “film’s highlight”, which “finds Lloyd dangling high above [the] city by a rope attached to the neck of a lion”. As Peary notes, the entire cast — most notably Jimmy Conlin as Lloyd’s partner in crime, and Frances Ramsden as his gorgeous workplace crush — is “sterling”. A minor quibble: it’s too bad the title’s first word was changed from “saga” to “sin”, since the latter makes little sense.
Redeeming Qualities and Moments:
- Harold Lloyd as Harold Diddlebock
- Fine supporting performances by Jimmy Conlin and others
- Sturges’ zany screenplay
Yes, as Harold Lloyd’s swan song.