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The Kid Brother Criterion Blu-ray Review

Brother

The end saves “The Kid Brother.”

1927’s “The Kid Brother” revolves around the most respected family in Hickoryville- the Hickorys. The family is comprised of Sheriff Jim Hickory, his 2 strong sons Leo and Olin and then another wimpy young son who doesn’t garner the respect the other two do. While I won’t go into too much detail plotwise, I will say the main components involve a Medicine Show, Mary (Harold’s love interest), and money theft. To say anymore would spoil the journey.

When it comes to silent movie comedy actors, Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton tend to get the headlines, but the underappreciated Harold Lloyd belongs in the conversation. His bespectacled nerdy everyman character was a nice change of pace from the other two actor’s personas and his stuntwork was deeply impressive as well. With “The Kid Brother,” Lloyd stars in this western themed adventure which is a bit lacking when compared to the likes of “Safety Last,” “Speedy,” or “The Freshman” (all available through Criterion I might add). The script by Howard J. Green is just a bit too dry and safe and doesn’t showcase Lloyd’s talents and comedic skills nearly enough. Much of the story involves family antics, a “enemy” of Harold, a cookie cutter romance and a standard trope involving the underdog trying to proof his bravery and worth.

Where “The Kid Brother” does thrive is in the last 20 or so minutes. In this portion you get a thrilling sequence involving Harold, a thief, and, yes, even a monkey. It’s a wild and cinematic sequence that takes place on a boat, on the water, and on land. It’s the type of sequence in which Lloyd really gets to show off his talents. It’s just a shame the rest of the movie doesn’t live up to this section.

Video/Audio:

Presentation: 1.33:1 1080p. How does it look? An absolutely stunning print that offers up so much more clarity.

Audio Tracks: A silent film with a score by Carl Davis and an alternate organ score by Gaylord Carter. How do they sound? Both tracks are crisp, but the Davis score is the preferred option.

Extras:
* A booklet featuring photos, credits, and an essay by film critic Carrie Rickey.
* Behind-The-Scenes stills.
* “Greenacres”- Suzanne Lloyd tours Harold Lloyd’s LA estate.
* “The Kid Brother: Close To Home”- A visual essay by author and location historian John Bengtson who talks about the location shooting of this silent film.
* A 16 minute 1962 interview with Harold Lloyd on Dutch TV. Very cool to see him speak about his life and career.
* “Anatomy Of A Gag: Monkeyshoes”- Film critic and filmmaker David Cairns talks over images about sight gags in silent films and in “The Kid Brother.”
* “Harold’s Leading Ladies”- Suzanne Lloyd and author Cari Beauchamp discuss actresses starring in Lloyd films such as Mildred Davis, Jobyna Ralston and Bebe Daniels.
* “The Wurlitzer: Nathan Barr And Mark Herman”- A look at the 20th Century Fox organ Nathan Barr now owns.
* “Preserving Harold”- Film archivist Dino Everett talks about early film formats and prints including the ones the 2 shorts are presented on.
* Speaking of the shorts, the crown jewel of the extra features are the rare “That’s Him!” and “Over The Fence.” ‘Fence’ (which involves baseball tickets and a date) is notable for the first appearance of Lloyd’s glasses persona while ‘Him’ is about newlyweds and train tickets.
* A 2005 commentary by Suzanne Lloyd, author Annette D’Agostino Lloyd and Lloyd archivist Richard Correll.

March 15, 2019 - Posted by | Blu-Ray review | , , , , ,

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