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Film / Speedy

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Speedy is a 1928 comedy film starring Harold Lloyd.

Lloyd plays Harold "Speedy" Swift, a young go-getter in New York City who loves his girlfriend Jane (Ann Christy) and the New York Yankees, possibly not in that order. Jane's grandpa, Pop Dillon (Bert Woodruff), owns the last horse-drawn passenger trolley in New York City. Pop has been targeted by unscrupulous streetcar developers, who are trying to push him out of business so they can gain control of his route. Harold has to fight to make sure Pop gets a fair deal.

Speedy director Ted Wilde was nominated for Best Comedy Direction at the first Academy Awards ceremony. The award was never given again. The End of an Age plot with Pop's horse-drawn car turned out to be appropriate on a meta level, as Speedy was the last silent film Harold Lloyd ever made.



  • Accidental Pervert: Harold and Jane stop at a seafood place at Coney Island, and a live crab falls into Harold's pocket. The crab pinches ladies' bottoms and steals lingerie out of a woman's purse.
  • Amusement Park: A long sequence in which Harold takes Jane to Coney Island.
  • Amusing Injuries: All the injuries received by the goons in the fight to disrupt the streetcar's route fall into this category. The most injury shown on-screen is a couple of the old neighborhood guys getting bandaged up as well as Speedy's dog's tail.
  • Artistic License – Sports: The Yankees are playing at home, but the scoreboard on the street (as well as the impromptu line score Harold makes with doughnuts) has them batting in the top of the inning.
  • As Himself: One extended sequence involves Harold, who has gotten a job as a taxi driver, driving Babe Ruth to Yankee Stadium for a game. Ruth is billed in the opening credits as "Himself".
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  • Automaton Horses: Played with. Speedy manages to take the car clear halfway across New York using only three horses, but the first one does throw a shoe that leave it unable to continue, requiring him to take it to a blacksmith while he steals a second pair of horses.
  • Big Applesauce: The slum where Jane and Pop live was a set in Los Angeles but most of the rest of the film was shot on location in New York. Landmarks such as Times Square, Coney Island, and Yankee Stadium appear.
  • The Cameo:
    • Babe Ruth appears As Himself, catching a ride from Harold to the ballpark. The film includes a scene where Ruth hits a real home run in a real Yankee game.
    • There is a cameo within a cameo as well. As Ruth is getting out of Harold's cab at Yankee Stadium, his teammate Lou Gehrig can be seen walking behind the cab. Gehrig looks right at the camera.
  • Chinese Launderer: One has a business in Pop's neighborhood. When the Badass Grandpas attack the mooks, the launderer charges into battle with a hot iron.
  • Contrived Coincidence: Harold, running away from a cop, dives into a random phone booth at Yankee Stadium. He then hears the corrupt railroad guy in the next booth, plotting to destroy Pop Dillon's business.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: The railroad boss tries to lowball Pop in negotiations to buy out Pop's route. When that fails, he tries strategies such as stealing Pop's car (Pop has to run his route once a day to maintain the rights) and attacking Pop's car with a horde of mooks.
  • Doomed New Clothes: Speedy gets a new suit when he takes his date to Coney Island. Predictably, they get ruined.
  • Driver Faces Passenger: Harold is so star-struck when Babe Ruth gets in the cab that he keeps turning around to talk to Ruth in the back seat. He narrowly escapes several collisions, much to Ruth's horror.
  • Driving a Desk: Used for some of the shots of Harold's wild drive across New York in Pop's car.
  • Fake Rabies: Harold puts shaving cream on his dog in order to scare off the gangsters hiding Pop's streetcar at the far side of town.
  • Feet-First Introduction: We first see Jane this way, as she chases Pop's car and kicks off a couple of boys riding the rear bumper.
  • Flipping the Bird: Harold leans against a fence with a "wet paint" sign on it, and ruins his suit. He discovers this after seeing his reflection in a mirror. In the most surprising scene in the movie, he then flips the bird to his own reflection. This, in a general-release comedy in 1928.
  • From Stray to Pet: A stray dog follows Speedy and Jane around Coney Island. Speedy attempts to leave it behind, but when they finally get in a truck to go home, Speedy reluctantly grabs the dog to take along.
  • Guile Hero: Speedy tends to use his wits to outsmart people, such as using the dollar bill on a string gag to get Jane and he seats on a crowded subway car.
  • Heroic Dog: While at first he isn't wanted by Speedy, his dog comes to his rescue several times in the fight, and then helps him to find and take back the car once it's been stolen.
    • On a meta level, the amount of stunts and tricks the dog (or dogs) that are used in this movie are astounding.
  • Indy Ploy: How Speedy seems to function at any given moment.
  • Loyal Animal Companion: After Speedy and his date take the dog home, he's there to help Speedy from the climax to the end of the movie.
  • Meaningful Name: Speedy Swift not only burns through jobs like nothing, but also spends a good part of the movie driving like crazy for various purposes and very nearly goes to jail for speeding.
  • Percussive Maintenance: Harold can't open the door of his crappy taxi—until he kicks it.
  • Scenery Porn: There's a lot of gratuitous and beautiful shots of Coney Island that show the place off.
  • Shown Their Work: While the film did forget that the home team bats in the bottom of the inning, the lineups shown on a scoreboard are accurate, reflecting the names of the real players on the 1927 Yankees and Chicago White Sox.