Pathé, 1923. Directed by
Fred Newmeyer, Sam Taylor. Camera: Walter Lundin. With
Jobyna Ralston, John Aasen, Leo White, James Mason, Wallace Howe, Lee
Phelps, Gaylord Lloyd.
Harold Van Pelham is a rich
hypochondriac who pops pills with ease,
and takes delight in discovering new symptoms
for himself. The newspapers are observant,
and in the local country club, the
members read the latest, "Young millionaire
seeks health in the quiet seclusion of
tropics." Harold, equipped with nurse and
valet, arrives in Paradiso in style: via ambulance,
propped in bed, dressed in fashion,
with cigarette in mouth. His health is
obvious to all around him, but not to him.
His nurse is very attentive to his needs, yet
wistfully dreams of him in a romantic way.
Paradiso, a normally "drowsy " island, is besieged
by a turbulent attempt at governmental
overthrow by an American renegade.
Amidst the gunfire and carnage,
Harold walks through the streets, seeing
the corpses as locals on siesta, and thinking
that drooping bodies are bowing to
him. He tries to find the hotel, and asks
for help from the Renegade, who thinks
that Harold is the enemy. The Renegade
offers Harold a military escort (to Van Pelham's
delight), instructing "Poner el perro
( "Put the dog in jail").
is jailed, along with "Colosso, that wild
hermit from the mountains who almost
wrecked our army. " Colosso is an eight-foot, nine-and-a-half-inch giant, whose
toothache lowered his resistance to arrest.
Harold suggests that the two break out of
the cell. Colosso breaks a hole in the stone
walls, letting Harold out first. The two escape,
and Harold makes a lifelong friend
when, after several attempts, he succeeds
in removing Colosso' s aching tooth.
Harold and Colosso now set out to curb
the revolution ("...they'll have to stop it
immediately. I came down here for a
rest"), and Colosso uses his immense
strength to overpower every target. "Well,
that's done. Now we've just time to dress
The nurse, meanwhile, disguised
as a local peasant, has been found
by the Renegade, who makes unwanted
advances towards her. Harold is incensed,
and is determined to protect her. He uses surprising athletics
to rescue her from kidnapping
and, with Colosso ' s help, defeats
the revolution. It is after all this, that
Harold realizes that all his ills are imaginary,
and that he loves his nurse ("Why
didn't you tell me I love you?").
fashion, a year later, Harold gets the
news that his baby has been born. joyously,
he runs into the street, amidst the
midday traffic, to tell the traffic cop, Colosso.
The Harold Lloyd Encyclopedia,
by Annette D'Agostino Lloyd
McFarland & Company, Inc.,
NC and London, 2004