Thursday, December 15, 2016

The Lost Harold Lloyd




I am always wildly excited to find "new" photos from the lost Harold Lloyd movie, Professor Beware. I call it lost because it's. . . lost. Nobody knows where it is. I have even consulted with people who knew Harold personally, and they don't know either, and don't want to talk about it. Is something going on here?




I've found a lot of promotional stills, "lobby cards" and posters for Professor Beware, but nobody knows if it still exists anywhere. There is a rumour that it was shown - once - on American Movie Channel, or perhaps Turner Classics. But what happened to it after that?




There are big handsome movie posters like this one, and such-like, but no MOVIE. This is odd. It is said Harold didn't like the movie very much, having done not-so-well with his first couple of talkies. Did he decide to withdraw it, to destroy the negative? But Harold was the kind of person who kept everything.




This is a scene where he gets very wet, and we get to see, at last, how curly his hair really was. It was always slicked back, like men's hair was back then. He looks so painfully cute here, I honestly can't bear it.




I like his pained, bewildered, baffled expression here. Though I know almost nothing about this movie, the stills seem to portray him as slapping himself on the forehead with dismay. Dismay was always one of his better modes of existence.




I mean, how provocative can it get: "Egyptologist in Strip Tease". An unlikely headline. Here Harold looks uncannily like Clark Kent, which is funny because Clark Kent was originally modelled on Harold Lloyd.




This is what I mean about the forehead-slapping. God! he is adorable.




Another underwear shot.








Don't ask me to explain these! Perhaps we are meant just to look upon them, like the Burning Bush, and not ask questions about them.




Note the right hand, which isn't really a hand. It's a prosthetic glove, fashioned after Harold lost his thumb and forefinger in an explosion. This one looks much more lifelike than the primitive ones he first wore in 1919.











But unless someone finds a copy moldering away in some Paramount vault, I'll never get to see this movie. Its very rarity, scarcity, impossibility, is what makes it so utterly irresistible.


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