Tuesday, May 23, 2023

Coming up this weekend: Harold Lloyd (and Babe Ruth!) in 'Speedy' (1928) on Sunday, May 28

Harold Lloyd and Ann Christy visit Coney Island in 'Speedy' (1928).

A few years ago, I was looking for a parking spot in Brooklyn, N.Y. to attend a get-together of my Fordham University friends.

This was in the Williamsburg section of the borough, close to the East River. And I found myself on Kent Avenue.

I'd never been there before, but for some reason I knew that street name. 

Before I found a parking spot, I remembered—Kent Avenue plays a prominent role in 'Speedy' (1928), Harold Lloyd's silent comedy that was shot mostly on location in New York. 

You can see Kent Ave. (street sign and all) and a lot of other New York locations this weekend, when we run 'Speedy' at the Town Hall Theatre in Wilton, N.H.

It's the final installment of our silent tribute to the Big Apple. And in this case, I think you could argue that we've saved the best for last. 

More Coney Island action, shot on location at the height of the Roaring '20s.

Lloyd and his crew made the most of shooting on location, and 'Speedy' is filled with shots of NYC scenes from 100 years ago that add a huge layer of interest to the film, then and even more so now.

See for yourself by attending the screening on Sunday, May 28 at 2 p.m. See you there!

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Harold rides the NYC subway in 'Speedy' (1928).

Contact Jeff Rapsis • (603) 236-9237 • jeffrapsis@gmail.com

Classic Harold Lloyd comedy 'Speedy' on Sunday, May 28 at Town Hall Theatre

Screening features live music; filmed on location in NYC with cameo by Babe Ruth

WILTON, N.H.—He was the bespectacled boy next door whose road to success was often paved with perilous detours.

He was Harold Lloyd, whose fast-paced comedies made him the most popular movie star of Hollywood's silent film era.

See for yourself why Lloyd was the top box office attraction of the 1920s in a revival of 'Speedy' (1928), one of his most popular comedies.

The film, shot on location in New York City, will be shown on Sunday, May 28 at 2 p.m. at the Town Hall Theatre, 40 Main St., Wilton, N.H.

The film will be shown with live music by silent film accompanist Jeff Rapsis.

Admission is free; a donation of $10 per person at each screening is suggested to help defray expenses.

The film is the last installment in the Town Hall Theatre's ongoing 'Silent New York' series.

'Speedy,' Lloyd's final silent feature before the transition to talkies, finds Harold as a baseball-crazed youth who must rescue the city's last horse-drawn streetcar from gangsters bent on running it out of business.

Filmed almost entirely on location in New York, 'Speedy' features remarkable glimpses of the city at the end of the 1920s, including footage of Coney Island and the original Yankee Stadium in the Bronx.

The latter scenes include an extended appearance by Babe Ruth, then at the height of his career during the team's storied 1927 season.

"In 'Speedy,' New York City is practically a part of the cast," Rapsis said. "In filming it on location, Lloyd knew scenes of New York would give the picture added interest to audiences across the nation and around the world.

"But what he didn't anticipate was that today, the location shots now provide a fascinating record of how life was lived in the Big Apple in the 1920s," Rapsis said.

Rapsis will improvise a musical score for 'Speedy' as the film is screened. In creating accompaniment for vintage classics, Rapsis tries to bridge the gap between silent film and modern audiences.

"Creating the music on the spot is a bit of a high-wire act, but it contributes a level of energy that's really crucial to the silent film experience," Rapsis said.

'Speedy' (1928) will be screened on Sunday, May 28 at 2 p.m. at the Town Hall Theatre, 40 Main St., Wilton, N.H.

Admission is free; a donation of $10 per person is suggested to help defray expenses. For more information, call (603) 654-3456.

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