Girl Shy Film Details
Overview: A shy young man who can’t talk to women ventures out to publish a book full of fictional conquests, but finds true love along the way.
Review: Harold Lloyd, “third genius” of silent comedy, made his independent debut with Girl Shy after years at Hal Roach studios, Hollywood’s premier comedy factory. He chose to take with him his leading lady Jobyna Ralston and his directorial team Fred Newmeyer and Sam Taylor. However the resulting picture is something of a departure from his earlier work – or, at least, it is a development of it. Girl Shy is less about knitting together gag after gag, taking instead the “story first” approach of Charlie Chaplin’s full-length movies. And as with Chaplin, the story though emotionally sincere is never allowed to smother the comedy, and quite often a quick joke is used great effect, puncturing a romantic moment before it becomes too sentimental. The story is a little illogical at times – the flashbacks to Harold’s “research” for his book seem at odds with the lack of confidence after which the whole picture is named. But those little vignettes offer some great satire on the romantic melodramas of the era, and generally the whole thing is put together with such a fine balancing of romance and humour that it moves along without the deficiencies ever becoming too apparent. Directors Taylor and Newmeyer have a great dynamic, it seems trying to make their styles match even though they handle different sections of the movie. Sam Taylor, (who did most of the comedy) uses a lot of close-up gags here, such as the business with the mousetrap, where some little detail will lead to some larger scale shenanigans. And similarly Newmeyer is putting in a lot of discreet close-ups for his non-comedy scenes, such as the shots of the crackerjack box that serve as a symbol for Ralston’s memory of Harold. Together the two directors give the whole thing a kind of visual coherence that makes it all seem smooth and flowing. Newmeyer is on particularly fine form here, directing with a subtlety that allows the entire river meeting scene to be played out with no intertitles. Lloyd’s features typically have a fast-paced editing pattern, largely to facilitate the often breakneck pace of his comedy sequences. The dash to the church which forms the finale of Girl Shy is perhaps the most brilliant of any Lloyd picture, mainly because of the rapidity with which it moves from one gag to the next. The way Harold leaps from, say, the back of a car onto a horse is funny in itself – as well as an impressive stunt. And yet, unlike his previous feature Safety Last!, which had quick edits throughout, Girl Shy also features a few longer takes in the romantic scenes, allowing the camera to linger over a facial expression. Which brings me onto Harold himself. He really makes the most of these close-ups. When he receives the bad news over his book, the camera holds him for a lengthy moment, and he really acts. He stays within the parameters of that comical character, but he emotes with complete dignity. Ultimately, Girl Shy is the complete realisation of the Harold Lloyd comedy character that would stick with him in future features (barring one or two deviations). Even though the story may be a little inconsistent as to exactly how “girl shy” Harold really is, this is the first movie to show him not only as a familiar, sympathetic figure, but one who is at risk of being hurt emotionally, not just by the dangers of his cliffhanging slapstick.
Country: United States
Language: None, English
Duration: 87 min
Genre: Comedy, Romance
Also known as: Girl Shy,Ujo poika,On se boji zen,Mädchenscheu,On se boji zensk,On zvádza dievcatá,The Girl Expert,Застенчивый,Lányos zavar,El Tenorio tímido,猛進ロイド,El tenorio tímido,Akta er för flickor!,Skygg och blyg,Tutte e nessuna,Arka ja kaino,O Maricas,O ntropalos,Bange for Piger,Ach, te dziewczęta,Ça t’la coupe!