THE FRESHMAN (1925) deals with Harold Lamb's (Harold Lloyd) endeavors to become a popular man on campus, by joining the football team, only to find that the other kids think he's the "college boob". Still, with the support of his girl Peggy (Jobyna Ralston), he manages to show them all what he's really made of. Directed by Fred Newmeyer and Sam Taylor.
This film was one of Harold Lloyd's biggest successes, and is now part of the National Film Registry. THE FRESHMAN represents the culmination of Harold Lloyd's development of his lovable nerd persona – clumsy and awkward, but plucky, full of spirit, and never quits. This had a tremendous appeal to 20s audiences and is still quite endearing today. THE FRESHMAN kickstarted a spate of college-based movies, and many movies to this day use the same kinds of characters – the nerd, the insensitive jock, the girl who sticks by the leading man's side even when no one else believes in him, etc.
The movie has some brilliantly constructed gags - just when you think they can't go on any more, Lloyd comes up with something else to amaze you. My favorite is the party in the hotel, which features a dizzy tailor trying in vain to mend Lloyd's tuxedo. Also funny is the scene where Lloyd's character has to make an impromptu speech to his class while wrestling with a cat.
Harold plays his character with his typical peppy charm, and Jobyna Ralston makes a nice love interest. Everyone here is effective in his or her roles and the film doesn't wear out its welcome. It's easy to see why this movie was so popular in its time, and it still has lots of comic appeal today. SCORE: 8/10
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