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Film / Ask Father

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Ask Father is a 1919 one-reel comedy starring Harold Lloyd.

In this one Harold is, as usual, trying to win the heart of a pretty girl. But the pretty girl is stalling Harold (and several other suitors) by telling each of them to "ask Father". Her father, as it happens, is quite rich and the owner of some sort of large business—and he takes a variety of draconian security measures to fend off unannounced callers. Harold, determined, sets out to get an audience with the father and ask for the girl's hand. In this he is occasionally assisted by another pretty girl, the telephone receptionist at the office, played by regular Lloyd co-star Bebe Daniels.

One of the last films Lloyd made before the infamous episode with a not-so-fake prop bomb that cost him three fingers. Also a Call-Forward in a meta sense, as one scene has Lloyd climbing two floors on the outside of a building, the same building that he would famously climb in the classic Safety Last!.



  • Brawn Hilda: A giant of a woman succeeds where Harold failed, barging through the office and intimidating people. So Harold elects to disguise himself as a woman.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Several shots outside the father's office establish that the next-door business is a costume company. Sure enough, Harold starts availing himself of various costumes in an attempt to sneak through to see the father.
  • Comedic Sociopathy: A little bit at the end. Harold, having found out that the boss's daughter has eloped, takes a new interest in the receptionist. When he asks her if she has a father and she answers that no, he died young, Harold jumps for joy.
  • Crazy-Prepared: The receptionist has a pillow she keeps to cushion the falls of people who are literally thrown out of the father's office.
  • Sexy Secretary: The telephone receptionist, the only woman in the office, who gets a lot of attention from all the men that work there.
  • Trap Door:
    • A variation. One of the devices used to keep intruders from getting into the father's office is a conveyor belt, which looks like a roll of carpet until someone hits the switch and send Harold shooting out into reception.
    • Then played completely straight when one of the father's assistants hits another switch and sends Harold through a trap door and into an alley outside.
  • Unsettling Gender Reveal: Harold's decision to disguise himself as a woman gets him some unwanted attention from the men in the office. They are not pleased when his skirt falls down and exposes his male suit pants.

Example of: