Series: Willie Work
Director: Hal Roach
Producer: Hal Roach
Photography: Walter Lundin
Stars: Harold Lloyd, Jane Novak, Roy Stewart, Gus Alexander
Company: Pathé Exchange
Released: 19 April 1915
Length: 1 reel
Filming dates: 1914
Available on DVD:
Willie (Harold Lloyd) is walking down the street when a young lady (Jane Novak) catches his eye. As he follows her is is run over by two cars before he carries on his pursuit before coming to rest on a park bench where a fat, elderly gentleman is sleeping. Willie picks the man's pockets for a cigar, a match and a handkerchief and then steals his newspaper. When the man wakes up he shoves Willie off the bench and then pushes him into a trashcan in humorous fashion. Meanwhile, a sinister looking man (Roy Stewart) is joined by a rival suitor on a nearby park bench where the girl has sat down. The girl leaves with the second man, but another woman arrives in her place.
After a brief altercation, the couple shake hands and leave together. Willie picks himself up out of the bin and wanders over to the second bench where the fat man has joined the girl and her suitor. He then walks off to a water fountain where a policeman is taking a drink and steals his baton. Willie then uses it to invoke a fight between the two men on the bench so that he can be alone with the girl. The cop sees his baton whacks Willie over the head with it before leaving with the girl. He finds two men standing by a lake chatting to each other. Willie sees that the man with his back to him has a larger cane and so walks in front of him, turns around and hooks the man's cane out from under him. This guy ends up in the pond courtesy of the cop.
In the second part of the film, some of the guys from the park end up in a Spanish restaurant where everybody is dancing, whilst Willie tries to warm his hands on the exhaust fumes of a stationary truck before it speeds off and leaves him in the road. After the three suitors and the girl go into the restaurant, Willie soon follows and proceeds to stealing a customer's drink whilst under the watchful eye of the manager. The manager gets ready to hit Willie, but Willie reacts quickly and kicks him over (see favbourite bit). Willie is evicted from the establishment but returns shortly afterwards when he sees the policeman outside waiting for him. He sits down at a table with the girl but gets into another fight with his rival (Stewart) when he sprays soda water in his face.
Willie leaves after getting whacked over the head with a glass, but then comes back in after getting smacked by the cop outside. The short waiter (Gus Alexander) takes an oversized mallet and attempts to hit the rival with it but instead hits the girl and knocks her out. The rival carries her out of the restaurant. Alone at last with his girl, Willie manages to get himself into even more trouble with the waiter, by shoving a fork up his ass and then plucking hair from the whiskers of the manager when he intervenes. One of the staff complains to the cop outside, where Willie follows and hits him over the head with a bottle. The girl leaves with the cop as Willie returns inside to a mass brawl which has broken out.
When the manager of the restaurant starts rolling up his sleeves with the intention of giving Harold Lloyd a good smacking, Harold takes the more direct route of kicking him in the stomach. A quicker, and much more efficent way of dealing with a bully.
• The opening scene with Harold Lloyd getting run over by the cars in the middle of the road was shot at Court Street across from the Bradbury Mansion Studio where they filmed.
• A print of the film exists and it is believed to be the oldest Hal Roach-produced film which has survived.
• Hal Roach was directing comedies for Essanay when business partner Dwight Whiting succeeded in getting Pathé Exchange interested in distributing the Rolin product. Pathé distributed only one Willie Work short, "Just Nuts," and wanted Rolin to reunite the three principles, but only Harold Lloyd was available. Pathé was able to pick and choose which films they distributed, with Rolin turning over the rest to Motion Picture Specialties Corporation, which found other distribution for a handful of the remaining films.
• The promiscuity of the girl in the film is quite extraordinary. She flirts with - or goes off with at least 4 different men!
• The actions of the policeman who pushes the man into the pond are inexcusable and an abuse of power.
• The waiter in the restaurant who confronts Harold Lloyd at the end is his own brother, Gaylord.
• It's an important film from an historical perspective, but Harold Lloyd's character is incredibly annoying and at most times unlikeable
Silent Visions by John Bengtson (book)
Dave Glass, Annette D'Agostino Lloyd, Jim Clewer (help)
Steve Massa (identification of Roy Stewart, Gus Alexander, Gaylord Lloyd)
This page was last updated on: 08 October 2021