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Film / Never Weaken

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Never Weaken is a 1921 silent comedy film starring Harold Lloyd and directed by Fred Newmeyer.

It was Lloyd's last short film, running to three reels, before he moved permanently into feature-length production. It was also one of his trademark 'thrill' comedies, featuring him dangling from a tall building. In this film, Harold works in an office on a tall building next door to his girlfriend Mildred (Mildred Davis). He assumes they will be married, but overhears her talking to a man who says to her, "Of course I will marry you." Little does he know this is actually her big brother, who has just become a priest.

Distraught, he decides to commit suicide, blindfolding himself and setting up a gun which will fire when he pulls a string attached to the trigger. But after putting on the blindfold he accidentally knocks over a lightbulb which pops, and he assumes he has shot himself. At that moment, a girder from the next door construction site swings into his office, lifting him and his chair outside. Pulling off the blindfold, he slowly realises he is high above the city, and climbs onto a building still under construction, trying to make his way down.


  • Acme Products: Harold uses "Acme Soap Flakes" to make a road slippery, in order to create new patients for the osteopath.
  • Bungled Suicide / Happily Failed Suicide / Interrupted Suicide: Harold tries to drink poison, but first decides it tastes too gross so he adds sugar, then, distracted by a loose button on his vest, he spills the poison. He then chickens out of jumping from the window, and tries setting up a gun by tying the trigger to a door knob. Of course instead, a light bulb falls and breaks making him think he's been shot, and a steel girder carries him away.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Two shots early on establishing that there is a building under construction across the street from Harold's office building.
  • Comedic Sociopathy: Harold deliberately injuring people so the osteopath will have more clients.
  • Construction Zone Calamity: Possibly the Trope Maker; if not, its the Trope Codifier.
  • Literal Cliff Hanger: Harold hanging off the steel beams of an unfinished building.
  • Mistaken for Afterlife: After thinking he just committed suicide, Harold assumes he's gone to heaven when he opens his eyes and sees an angel. Turns out it's just a statue, and his chair was carried away by a steel girder leaving him dangling hundreds of feet in the air.
  • Mistaken for Cheating: Harold sees his girlfriend hugging another man who says "I'll marry you right away!" The other man is her brother, a minister, who is saying that he'll officiate her wedding to Harold.
  • Rump Roast: After Harold sits on a hot rivet.
  • Suicide as Comedy: A major offender of this trope.