US Release Date: 09-23-1917
Directed by: Harold Lloyd
- Harold Lloyd, as
- Snub Pollard, as
- Bebe Daniels, as
- William Blaisdell, as
- Sammy Brooks as
Harold chases Snub in Pinched
In 1917, Harold Lloyd created his famous glasses character. It was to him what the Tramp was to Charlie Chaplin. With Pinched, Harold Lloyd would forever be the the glasses wearing character we all remember him as.
It opens with Bebe and some other girls wading in a brook without shoes or stockings. Harold and Snub come along on a two seater bike and are properly interested in the girls being so brazenly underdressed. They start too flirt with them but the boys are shooed away by a matron.
The boys get back on their bike and ride off. Meanwhile, a couple of other guys have just stolen a car that breaks down on them shortly thereafter. Luckily Harold and Snub ride up and the thieves end up stealing their bike. With Harold and Snub left with the car, they take off in it but of course get mistaken as the thieves who stole it. A police chase ensues, what else?
Two scenes really stand out. The first is with Snub steering the tandem bike, while Harold rides in the back. He uses Snubs backpack as a dinner tray and storage compartment while riding down the road. The other is when Harold cranks the car motor and Snub speeds off recklessly, with Harold giving chase on foot.
At just over ten minutes, this very rare film is more entertaining than the 90 minutes of The Sin of Harold Diddlebock, Lloyd's final appearance as the glasses character. This is how I choose to remember Harold Lloyd, the average young man with an eye for the ladies, overcoming whatever problems life throws at him.
Bebe Daniels (with William Blaisdell and Sammy Brooks) in Pinched.
Pinched is a frantically fast-paced little one-reeler that embodies many of the best qualities of silent film comedy. It was shot mostly outdoors, which adds to the historical interest as we see sections of Hollywood as they were a century ago.
Lloyd had already established his glasses guy persona but this is definitely an ensemble piece. He isn’t the dominant star he would become just a few years later. Snub Pollard, virtually forgotten today, makes a good second banana and the sexy Bebe Daniels was always a nice addition to any movie.
Eric mentioned the best bits and I agree they’re funny. Where would silent comedy (or sound comedy for that matter) be without a case of mistaken identity? The timing in these old movies is always impressive. Watch how close the speeding car comes to crashing into the men blocking the road. They fall down expertly, making it look as if the car actually hits them.
Pinched is 10 minutes of pure manic fun featuring an iconic silent comic early in his legendary career.
Snub Pollard and Harold Lloyd in Pinched.
10 minutes of pure manic fun? Although I'm not the silent film fan that you guys are, I've seen enough of them now that I can appreciate a good one when I see it and this one is no classic.
Harold Lloyd has been called the Third Genius, meaning behind Chaplin and Keaton, and I agree he belongs right up there with them, but you wouldn't know that just by watching this short.
The only moment that stands out is the one you mentioned Eric when Lloyd eats while on the back of the tandem bicycle from the backpack of the man in front. The rest is just poor quality slapstick.
From watching so many Buster Keaton shorts, I now can say that I have a pretty good idea of someone faking a fall. Keaton was the master. Chaplin could do it well. Heavyset Roscoe Arbuckle could them. And I've seen Lloyd do amazing falls and physical stunts in his later work, but he had obviously not learned his technique when he made this film. Watch how every time he falls down he makes sure to throw his legs way back over his head, sometimes pausing after the fall and then throwing them back.
I do agree with you about one thing Patrick and that is that Bebe Daniels was sexy. She doesn't have a huge part, but she's quite cute, which isn't something that could always be said about actresses of the day.
When watching these old shorts, I do like to do a little research about them to see what I can learn. The most interesting thing I discovered about this one was that co-star Snub Pollard, who would partner with Lloyd for several shorts, would go on to have a long career in Hollywood, appearing in bit parts all the way up until 1962. Apparently he is one of the men who carries the mail bags into the courtroom in the original Miracle on 34th Street.
Photos © Copyright Rolin Films (1917)