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Film / From Hand to Mouth

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From Hand to Mouth is a 1919 two-reel short film directed by Hal Roach, starring Harold Lloyd. In this film Harold is down-and-out, without funds to pay for the lunch he'd dearly like to eat, befriending a homeless little girl who is as hungry as he is. He winds up stealing some food with the little girl, but is bailed out of trouble by a passing rich heiress, played by Mildred Davis. Later Harold falls in with a gang of thieves, who are plotting to kidnap the rich heiress.
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Harold Lloyd got his start as a Charlie Chaplin imitator, and From Hand to Mouth is something of a transition point in his career. His character here is hungry and broke like The Tramp usually was, but he's in costume as the "glasses" character that he made famous, and despite the dire circumstances Lloyd has the optimism that would be a hallmark of his later films.

This was Lloyd's first film with Mildred Davis, who would be his costar for the next four years, until she married him.


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Tropes:

  • Amoral Attorney: Not only are the lawyers trying to cheat Mildred out of her inheritance by not telling her she has to claim it by midnight, they're willing to employ kidnappers to keep Mildred from getting it.
  • Fruit Cart: A collision on foot with a fruit cart, as Harold runs right over one while fleeing from the cops.
  • Heartwarming Orphan: "The waif", the little girl whom Harold befriends. When he gives her a cookie, she gives it to the dog. The film ends with Harold, Mildred, and the waif all eating together.
  • High-Class Glass: "Will Snobbe", one of the crooked lawyers, wears one of these.
  • Hollywood Darkness: It looks pretty light outside for nearly midnight.
  • Lemming Cops: After Harold can't get any of the cops to respond to his story about Mildred, he switches tactics, and starts assaulting them. This leads to a madcap chase with a horde of cops after Harold—who leads them right to the kidnappers' lair.
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  • Literal Ass-Kicking: Harold does this with one of the cops to get the cop to chase him.
  • MacGuffin: The documents that somehow prove Mildred is entitled to the inheritance.
  • No Name Given: Lloyd, Davis, and the little girl are credited as The Boy, The Girl, and The Waif.
  • Police are Useless: The beat cops are completely uninterested by Harold's tale of Mildred's kidnapping. So he has to assault them in order to get their attention.
  • Victoria's Secret Compartment: Where Mildred puts the documents.
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