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Film: The Freshman
The Freshman (1925) is one of the best remembered films of famous silent movie comedian Harold Lloyd.

Lloyd stars as Harold Lamb, who leaves for Tate College with a determination to be popular. On the train to college he meets pretty Peggy (Jobyna Ralston). Harold works hard to become popular at Tate, asking people to call him "Speedy", doing a little dance when he meets strangers, buying everyone ice cream, and joining the football team. It backfires spectacularly, and he becomes the laughingstock of campus. Only Peggy (who turns out to be his landlady's daughter) likes him.

Harold makes the football team—as a water boy and tackling dummy, while believing he is actually on the squad. At the Fall Frolic dance Harold is cruelly stripped of his illusions, learning that he is looked upon as a fool and the butt of jokes. After a heart-to-heart with Peggy, Harold is determined to prove everyone wrong by being a hero at Tate's big football game.

This film might well be the Ur Example for Big Game, Big Man on Campus, Dean Bitterman, and Put Me In, Coach!. Inducted into the National Film Registry with the class of 1990. Not to be confused with the 1990 movie starring Marlon Brando and Matthew Broderick.


Tropes:

  • Adorkable: Harold, as always, the irresistibly charming laughingstock.
  • Be Yourself: Peggy's advice to Harold. It's hard to say whether he takes it.
  • Big Game: The climax, in which Tate College is facing off against their big rivals in the season-ending game.
  • Big Man on Campus: Harold desperately wants to be this, and at the end he succeeds.
  • Catch Phrase: Harold's "Step right up and call me Speedy!", accompanied by a little jig dance.
  • Clothing Damage: Harold's tuxedo for the "Fall Frolic" dance is held together with basting thread, leading to the expected results.
  • Collegiate American Football: Is a big deal at Tate, which an intertitle jokingly describes as "a large football stadium with a college attached".
  • Dean Bitterman: Takes an irrational dislike to poor Harold.
  • Down to the Last Play: The game ends with Harold's mad dash to the end zone, scoring a touchdown on the last play.
  • Impairment Shot: Harold is seeing double after taking a hit in the climactic football game.
  • Meet Cute: Harold and Peggy meeting over a crossword puzzle on the train.
  • Put Me In, Coach!: The coach finally has to put in Harold because he doesn't have any other men.
  • Sequel Gap: The Sin of Harold Diddlebock was a sound sequel to this film, directed by Preston Sturges and released in 1947. It was also a major flop (mosstly because of Howard Hughes' Executive Meddling and the fact that Harold had become almost forgotten by this time) and effectively ended Lloyd's career.
  • Squirrels in My Pants: A kitten, as Harold is attempting to give a speech.
  • Unnecessary Roughness: Harold's coach demonstrates how to tackle someone by punching them in the face.
Girl ShyFilms of the 1920sThe Kid Brother
The Great Train RobberyUsefulNotes/National Film RegistryAll Quiet on the Western Front
French CancanCreator/The Criterion CollectionThe Friends of Eddie Coyle

alternative title(s): The Freshman
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