Girl Shy (1924) – reviewed by George

I had the great good fortune to see this silent movie under the absolute best conditions – with a big audience and a live organist, and it was one of my very best movie-going experiences. Harold Lloyd is always a delight, and this is one of the few films starring him that I had not seen.

He plays a tailor’s assistant/apprentice who is so frightened of women that he gets beyond anxious and fidgety in their presence – even the presence of one. Perhaps being alone with a girl is even worse. Needless to say the romance he longs for is not going to happen. So he writes a book (a logical response), a guide to young men about how to make love to women. Each chapter, involving a different type of woman, is then portrayed on-screen, and since he knows nothing about women, they are really funny. Every employee at his publisher’s office is shown laughing loudly. Then he meets a girl, a very special girl (played by Jobyna Ralston), and finds he is somewhat less shy with her. Conversation is actually possible! But she is rich, and he really needs his book published before he can presume to ask for her hand. The publisher dashes his hopes with snide bluntness, and love is over. As the girl, puzzled by Harold’s embarrassed rejection, ends up engaged to a respected man who is a secret cad – already married and looking to blackmail her father, the publisher is told of his mistake – look at the reaction of your own employees and sell the book as a spoof, and a very funny one at that. Harold learns the truth about the cad, and his sense of outrage and his desire to protect his loved one rise, and he sets off to stop the wedding. Up to this point Lloyd has done none of his trademark stunts, but now they come so fast that laughter interferes with breathing. This is slapstick as fine art.
But he has missed the publisher’s message that the book will see the light of day! Now what?

Even if you watch alone on a DVD, I can almost guarantee that you will enjoy this movie. Such fun!

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