Posted on Wednesday, November 21st, 2018 by Bryan Young
(Welcome to The Movies That Made Star Wars, a series where we explore the films and television properties that inspired or help us better understand George Lucas’ iconic universe. In this edition: Girl Shy.)
Among film nerds, Harold Lloyd is a household name. Saying his name instantly evokes images of the bespectacled actor dangling from a clock or in other improbable and impossibly dangerous situations. Made in 1924, Girl Shy was Harold Lloyd’s first production independent of Hal Roach and he wanted it to focus less on the stunts he’d been known for and more for his character work. That doesn’t mean Girl Shy doesn’t have its own thrilling stunts, as the climax of the film might have been the most exciting sequence Lloyd ever accomplished in his career, but the character work leading up to that sequence was the most well-developed Lloyd had pulled off. He plays a young tailor’s apprentice who wants to be an author. He’s also impossibly shy around girls and has a terrible stutter when he’s nervous. Think about that: Harold Lloyd is able to portray a verbal stutter in a silent film from 1924. He’s clumsy and shy, but that doesn’t stop him from falling in love and the climax plays out like an early version of The Graduate, with Lloyd’s character breaking up a wedding in order to reunite with the love of his life.
Though during his time making films through the ‘20s and ‘30s, Lloyd was spoken of in the same breath as Buster Keaton and Charlie Chaplin, it was Lloyd himself that prevented his legacy from flowering as much as it should have. He controlled the rights to all of his films and very rarely allowed them to be played for a variety of reasons. Now, almost a hundred years after the peak of his popularity, Lloyd is taking his more rightful place in the history of cinema.
But how does that connect to Star Wars?