HAROLD LLOYD’S CLASSIC FILM “SPEEDY” COMES TO RHODE ISLAND
Comes to the Rhode Island International Film Festival this August
ANNUAL SALUTE TO THE SILENT FILM ERA CONTINUES WITH NEWLY RESTORED
PRINT AND ACCOMPANIMENT BY THE ALLOY ORCHESTRA
The annual Rhode Island International Film Festival continues its annual sidebar "Golden Age of Cinema" which salutes the Silent Film Era. On Friday night, August 10th, RIIFF will screen this year’s restored silent film classic, Speedy starring renowned silent film comedian Harold Lloyd. Since 2001 RIIFF began the annual tradition of screening a notable silent film in the historic Columbus Theatre Arts Center which was built in 1926 and has been the Festival’s home. The film screening will take place at 7:00 p.m. The film is perfect for the entire family!
The film Speedy, originally released in 1928, stars Harold Lloyd (1893-1971). Starting his career in 1913, Harold Lloyd went on to make over 200 shorts for studios such as Universal and Keystone. In the movie Speedy, Lloyd plays a character named Harold “Speedy” Swift. The character Speedy has an unfortunate fanatical love of baseball that leads him to consistently lose various jobs, leaving him perpetually unemployed. In the film Speedy makes his way through the city on a day trip with his sweetheart Jane Dillon, played by Ann Christy. Jane’s grandfather “Pop” runs the last horse-drawn trolley in the city on a route that railway magnates desperately want.
Since Pop won't sell it to them, they plan to get it by underhanded means. Pop must make his rounds at least once every 24 hours, so the magnates hire thugs to stop him. Speedy hears about this plan and, being gainfully unemployed, takes over the route to protect the old man. But the magnates then steal the trolley, and the climax of the film involves Speedy's dash to find the trolley and get it back to its route before the 24 hours are up. He makes it just in time and then forces the magnates to buy the route for a cool 100,000 dollars.
Baseball legend Babe Ruth had a cameo role, playing himself as a very harassed fare when Speedy is working as a cabbie. Their wild ride ends at the old Yankee Stadium. Other historically interesting sites include Coney Island's Luna Park, and Columbus Circle and Wall Street as they were in 1928. In the film's climax, the trolley has a spectacular crash at the Brooklyn Bridge -- this accident was not planned, but was left in the film anyhow. At the time of this picture's release, Lloyd was a top box-office draw, a bigger moneymaker than both Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton.
The film Speedy will be accompanied live with an original score by the Alloy Orchestra. Now in its 17th year, the Alloy Orchestra is a three man ensemble, writing and performing live accompaniment to classic silent films. Although the source of their sounds can be at times peculiar, the ensemble works with unlikely objects to come up with their soulful music. An unusual combination of found percussion and state-of-the-art electronics gives the Orchestra the ability to create any sound imaginable. The group can make the audience think it is being attacked by tigers, contacted by radio signals from Mars or swept up in the Russian Revolution. Alloy has helped revive some of the great masterpieces of the silent era by performing at prestigious film festivals and cultural centers worldwide, including: The Telluride Film Festival, The Louvre, Lincoln Center, The Academy of Motion Pictures, the National Gallery of Art and others.
The screening will take place at the historic Columbus Theatre at 270 Broadway, Providence at 7.00pm. Tickets to the screening are $15 and available online (see below), by phone or at the door.
The Rhode Island International Film Festival (RIIFF) is dedicated to the creation of opportunities for artistic interaction and exchange among independent filmmakers, directors, producers, distributors, backer, and the film-going community. Rhode Island Governor Donald Carcieri, Providence Mayor David M. Cicilline, and US Senator Jack Reed serve as honorary chairs of this year’s event. During the 2007 event, over 280 films will be presented.
The Rhode Island International Film Festival is supported in part by the City of Providence, the Providence Tourism Council, the Providence Department of Arts, Culture & Tourism, Clear Channel Communications, Sony, Rule Broadcast Systems, WJAR TV 10, the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts, Amtrak, Radio Disney, Tango Pix, the University of Rhode Island and contributions from members and community supporters.
To purchase tickets or obtain more information about any aspect of RIIFF, call 401-861-4445; or write RIIFF, 268 Broadway, Providence, RI 02903; email firstname.lastname@example.org
Photo courtesy of Harold Lloyd Estate