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Speedy

(1928 b 85')

En: 6 Ed: 5

A young man in love with an old streetcar driver’s granddaughter helps him maintain his franchise so that he can get a good price from the railroad company.

         In fast-paced New York one section moves more slowly. Pop Dillon (himself) owns a streetcar that is pulled by a horse. A railroad employee asks him if he is ready to accept their offer, but he has not changed his price. The man warns him he may get nothing, but Pop says he already has nothing. His granddaughter, Jane Dillon (Ann Christy), is in love with him and everyone else. They stop for lunch in the street.

         Speedy (Harold Lloyd) works within phoning distance of Yankee Stadium at a soda fountain. Tossing things around, he serves a chocolate sundae with a cherry on top. A woman asks for an orangeade, and Speedy catches oranges tossed to him. Speedy learns that the Yankees got three runs in the fourth inning, and he uses a pretzel to make a three next to the three donuts. A man comes in with flowers for his wife to square him for last night. The manager gives them to Speedy to deliver, and he runs out.

         At a corner Speedy blows a policeman’s whistle so he can cross the street sooner. He climbs over a car, and the closing door cuts off the flowers. He buys the New York Times.

         Speedy comes home and tells Pop Dillon he needs to get a better job. Pop asks for a neck rub, and Speedy uses oil. Railroad Vice President W. S. Wilton arrives and hands his card to Pop and says he came to ask for his rock-bottom price. Pop writes “$10,000” while Speedy reads in the Times how a railroad merger needs to buy up small franchises. The note is dropped, and Speedy changes it to “$70,000.” Wilton says that price is ridiculous. Pop says that is what he intends to get for his horse-car. As he is leaving, Wilton says he may be able to force him out. Speedy asks if he can do that, and Pop shakes his head because folks at City Hall have told him he only has to run his car once every twenty-four hours to keep the track. Pop sees the altered figure, and Speedy shows him the news article.

         Speedy has lost his job and takes Jane to Coney island. He reads his fortune that anticipates him having a family. They get on a crowded street car. Speedy uses money on a string to lure a man out of his seat so that Jane can sit down. He tries it for himself, but a woman gets there first. He hooks a briefcase to an umbrella and gets a seat next to Jane. A man keeps stepping on his toes, and Speedy kicks him. People rush off the car.

         Speedy and Jane go on rides at Coney Island. He buys two hamburgers, and a dog begs and gets his clothes dirty. Speedy leans against a fence with fresh paint. They look into a distorting mirror, and he sees the stripes on the back of his coat. He picks up a crab and gives it to the seafood salesman, but another crab fals into his pocket. While arguing with a balloon salesman, the crab attacks the man. The crab attacks women who complain. The crab pinches others on a centrifugal ride. Speedy and Jane eat cotton candy and drink sodas and then coffee. They eat more, and he tests his lungs. Speedy throws baseballs at milk bottles to try to win a prize for Jane. Speedy knocks a pie into a man’s face, and he throws a baseball; Speedy ducks, and it hits the bottles. Jane is given a prize.

         In the evening they are carrying things, and Speedy wins a special prize, which is a crib. He says no, but Jane wants it. So they put their stuff in the crib. A dog offers Speedy a doll, which he tosses into the crib. Speedy ties up the dog, but the dog breaks free, making a mess that they have to pay for with the last of their money. They sit down, and a woman drops money into his hat; but she comes back and takes it. Speedy sees his friend Jimmy in a truck and asks him for a ride back to the city. They put the crib in the back and climb in. The dog runs after them, and Speedy gets out to get him. Jane says there is furniture there for a cozy home. He lights the lamp. She takes off his shoes and puts slippers on his feet. He suggests they get married and let Pop live with them. She says she cannot get married until Pop’s affairs are settled. Speedy says he will get a job in the morning and help him. They cuddle.

         Speedy gets a job as a cab driver; but an “Out of Order” sign gets caught on his door handle, and he gets no customers until he finds the sign. Speedy cannot get the cab going, and the man gets out. Speedy picks up a woman and child but cannot get the back door open. Finally he gets it open, but now it won’t stay closed. He sees a man waving but finds he is motioning to a cameraman. Speedy goes up to get an older man, but his cab is attached to a truck which drives off with it. Speedy gets a ride in pursuit. The man has a leaking brief case, and a policeman is suspicious. Speedy tells the truck driver to stop. He sees his car is loose and coasting downhill. It knocks over a policeman, but Speedy gets in and leaves. He stops to pick up a man with suitcases; but another man comes out, and they fight over them. Two men get in his cab and tell him to hurry to the station. A motorcycle cop chases them. He asks for his fare, and they show him their badges. The cop gives him a ticket. The detectives come back and tell him to hurry again. He shows them the ticket, and they promise to make it all right. Speedy drives fast with a passenger and is followed by the cop. Speedy acts smart, but the detectives are not in the cab. The old man asks the cop to arrest him, and he gets another ticket. Speedy buys a newspaper and reads that Babe Ruth will be signing baseballs at an orphanage.

         Speedy goes to the orphanage, and Babe Ruth (himself) summons the taxi to take him to Yankee Stadium. Speedy talks to him and keeps looking back; but other cars avoid him. Babe asks him to hurry, and he speeds up. Babe closes his eyes. They cross a bridge and pull up before Yankee Stadium. Babe pays him and asks if he wants to see the game. Speedy says he will park his cab first. He sees a policeman and realizes a third ticket means jail. Speedy gets a seat and watches Babe hit a home run. Speedy sees his boss, who tells him to turn in everything. Speedy gives him the two tickets and won’t take them back. Speedy sees a policeman and hides in a phone booth. He hears railroad employees talking about Dillon. They are planning to send a gang down to start a fight on his car.

         Pop Dillon comes home to Jane, followed by Speedy. They inquire into each other’s health. Speedy tells Pop he needs a vacation and says he can drive his car.

         At night Pop’s car is used as a nightclub by old tradesmen. Speedy finds it crowded and asks why they are arguing in a card game. Speedy says they may not have the car to play in for long because a gang is coming. An older man says they fought in the Civil War, and their password was “It smells like rain.” If he says that, they will help him.

         The next morning Speedy is nervously driving the car. Four men come aboard. Speedy drives slowly to stay with a walking policeman. The policeman chases a criminal. As he drives, Speedy tells old men, “It smells like rain.” They pass the word. On the car the men start a fight, and Speedy jumps on the horse with the whip. The horse becomes separated. He and the old men face the young men. More old men appear dressed as warriors. They all fight in the street. The old men use a rolling pin, a baseball bat, and horse shoes. The dog helps Speedy. A black man uses a hot iron.

         Later Speedy helps bandage the old men. The two railroad men plan to steal the car that night. Speedy finds it is not in the garage. The car is put in a lot.

         Speedy goes home and tells Pop the car was stolen. They both go looking for it. The dog has a pocket, and in it Speedy finds the note.

         An hour later on the other side of the city Speedy looks for the car and sees a man getting his pants repaired and follows him. The man goes in a door in a fence. Speedy looks in and sees the car. He climbs through a pet hole and gets in the car. He sees the men coming and hides with the dog. He puts soap on the dog’s mouth and tells the men he is a mad dog. They run away, and Speedy drives the car into the street and across town. The men in a car chase him.

         At home Pop asks Jane if Speedy is back. Speedy stops at a blacksmith for the horse, and a streetcar pushes his car down the street. A railroad man calls for more men to stop him from getting the car to the track. Speedy ties the streetcar to a car with a rope and is pulled. A cop is trying to stop the car, and Speedy unties the rope. Speedy gets a team of two horses to pull the streetcar. A man shoots at him. A policeman gets on a horse and follows him. A police dummy falls in the road, and Speedy stops. He puts the dummy on board and goes on. Speedy does not stop for the men’s cars. The streetcar hits a post, and he falls out. He sees a wheel is smashed, but he uses a manhole cover to replace it. He backs up the streetcar and goes on. The men use a ditch in the road to stop him; but the horses jump over, and the streetcar drags on without wheels. Pop and Jane come out and thank Speedy. Wilton tells Dillon that he will meet his price. Speedy says that Pop can’t hear until he gets up to a $100,000. Speedy asks Jane to go with him to Niagara Falls.

         This slapstick comedy depicts modern life in New York City during the Roaring Twenties. The common man is given a chance to make a good deal with a powerful railroad company so that the young man and his girl may marry.

Copyright © 2010 by Sanderson Beck

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