Wondering if you should go to see Harold Lloyd’s The Freshman, which starts Friday at the Trylon? Let’s see what the New York Times said about the film when it premiered back in September 1925:
If laughter really is a panacea or some ills, one might hazard that a host of healthy persons were sent away from the Colony yesterday after regaling themselves in wild and rollicking explosions of mirth over Harold Lloyd’s comic antics in his latest hilarious effusion, “The Freshman.” Judging from what happened in the packed theatre in the afternoon, when old folks down to youngsters volleyed their hearty approval of the bespectacled comedian, the only possible hindrance to the physical well-being of the throngs was as attack of aching sides.
In this new production Mr. Lloyd burlesques a young college student with athletic aspirations. While it is a decidedly boisterous affair, it is evident that Mr. Lloyd knows his public. He gives them something easy to laugh at a film in which the authors could not be accused of dodging slapstick or of flirting with subtlety. It is a story which deserved more gentle handling, but there’s no gainsaying that the buffoonery gained its end in its popular appeal. Occasionally this jazz jester rubs in the fun by repeating his action, and he also anticipates laughter.
Harold Lamb (Mr. Lloyd) first is introduced as a deserving youth who idolizes the past year’s most popular student at Tate College. Harold’s father is a rampant radio enthusiast, and in one sequence is deluded into the belief that he has reached some far-distant country, only to discover that what he hears are the odd yells of his college-mad son, who is practicing as a cheer-leader in a room above
The most amusing chapter in this stretch of fun is where Harold succumbs to the notion that he is a possible candidate for the football team. He permits himself to be tackled and bowled about by the husky students, and is eventually permitted to sit on the players bench at the most important contest of the season. Tate’s team fares badly, one after another being put hors do combat. The coach observes the ridiculous Harold aching for his chance, but has no faith in the young man who wears his spectacles under his rubber nose protector, Harold’s insistence, however, gives him his chances and all sorts of laughable gags follow, one of them being introduced when Harold is warned by the umpire that he must release the ball when the official whistles. Later one perceives Harold clutching the ball, dashing toward the opponent’s goal. Suddenly there is a factory whistle. He is five yards from his destination when he halts and throws down the ball.
This is a regular Harold Lloyd strip of fun, which is made all the more hilarious by introducing something like suspense in the sequences on the football field.
The Freshman screens Friday and Saturday, November 21 and 22, at 7:00 and 9:00, and Sunday, November 23 at 5:00 and 7:00. Live accompaniment by The Rats and People MN. Tickets are $10.00, and you can purchase them here.