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Film: Girl Shy
Girl Shy is a 1924 film directed by Fred Taylor and Sam Newmeyer and starring Harold Lloyd.

Here Lloyd plays Harold Meadows, a meek tailor's apprentice in the tiny California town of Little Bend. Harold is terrified to death by girls, reduced to a stammering wreck whenever they talk to him—which of course means that in his spare time he has written a how-to book on the art of romancing women. While on the train to deliver his manuscript to a publisher in Los Angeles, he meets pretty Mary Buckingham (Jobyna Ralston, in the second of her six films with Lloyd), a rich socialite who is headed back home from a country outing. Mary has an unpleasant but persistent (and also rich) suitor named Ronald DeVore, but she takes a shine to Harold.

Unfortunately, Harold is laughed out of the publisher's office. Brokenhearted, and as a result still a poor apprentice, he breaks things off with Mary, who in turn gives in to Ronald's latest marriage proposal. However, the publishers change their mind and decide to publish Harold's little romance guide as a comedy book. At the same time Harold gets that good news he finds out that Mary and Ronald are getting married that very day. He then goes on an epic race to stop the wedding.


Tropes:

  • Baby Carriage: Harold has to suddenly swerve the streetcar to avoid hitting a baby carriage. The baby appears to enjoy this thoroughly. This scene was one year before Trope Maker The Battleship Potemkin.
  • The Big Damn Kiss: Mary plants one on Harold as the film ends.
  • Dances and Balls: Harold is too shy of girls to attend the Little Bend dance, so he watches from the outside.
  • The Flapper: One of the imaginary girls Harold describes seducing. This one of course is smoking a cigarette and dancing to jazz music.
  • Fruit Cart: As he careens through Los Angeles in a runaway streetcar, Harold collides with a farmer's cart, spilling the farmer's produce all over the street.
  • "The Graduate" Homage Shot: See Wedding Deadline below.
  • Have a Gay Old Time: Harold titles his book "The Secrets of Making Love". When the publisher decides to repurpose it as a humorous book he titles it "The Boob's Diary".
  • Hero Insurance: Here are the crimes Harold commits in order to stop Mary's wedding, after he misses the train back to Los Angeles. Let's hope nobody got a good look at him (or Mary's money smooths things over).
    • grand theft auto, followed by wrecking the car
    • grand theft auto again
    • theft of a policeman's motorcycle
    • theft of a horse
    • theft of a horse-and-buggy team
    • kidnapping (when he commandeers another driver's car)
    • theft of a trolley car
    • assault (on a servant at Mary's mansion who tries to stop him)
  • Hero Stole My Bike: A whole lot of this as Harold races to stop Mary's wedding; see Hero Insurance above.
  • Meet Cute: Harold rescues Mary's dog after it jumps off the train.
  • Secret Other Family: It turns out that Ronald, Mary's other suitor, has a secret wife stashed away in Little Bend.
  • Speech Impediment: Harold has a stutter that comes out when he's stressed or when he's panicked by girls. In the end Mary has to blow on a police whistle to snap him out of a stutter so he can propose.
  • The Vamp: One of the chapters of Harold's book is titled "My Vampire" and shows him using the "Indifference" method in order to seduce her.
  • Wedding Deadline: The last third of the film is Harold's epic race to stop Mary's wedding to Ronald. This whole sequence, particularly the part where Harold barges in and shouts Mary's name, is highly reminiscent of the climactic sequence of The Graduate, made over forty years later. In fact, it's very close to "The Graduate" Homage Shot, except that Harold doesn't beat on the glass.
  • Women Drivers: Some guy is teaching a woman how to drive, but she's having trouble starting the car, and the stops and starts torture Harold, who thinks the car is stopping to give him a ride. When he finally hops on the back the woman gets the car stuck in a circle.
  • Worst News Judgment Ever: How does Harold find out that Mary is getting married? A front-page newspaper article.
Safety Last!Films of the 1920sThe Freshman

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