Why Worry? (1923)
Director: Fred Newmeyer, Sam Taylor
Cast: Harold Lloyd, Jobyna Ralston, John Aasen
Synopsis: Harold Van Pelham is filthy rich — but what good does it do him when he’s always sick? To get over his multitude of real or imaginary ailments, he goes for a much-needed vacation to sunny South America.
In Why Worry? Harold Lloyd plays a wealthy hypochondriac who decides to take a trip to the Latin American country of Paradiso, unaware of the fact that it is about to undergo a coup by an army of cut-throats led by an American mercenary. He’s accompanied on his trip by his pretty young nurse (Jobyna Ralston) who harbours a crush on Harold to which he is completely oblivious.
This full-length feature is a typically polished production from Lloyd. While it doesn’t really generate many big belly laughs it does manage to deliver a regular supply of chuckles throughout. Totally oblivious to what he has stumbled into, Harold takes a stroll around a local village and somehow manages to miss all the carnage going on around him. He manages to get himself locked up — although he thinks he’s receiving an armed escort to his hotel until the last moment — and while in jail he encounters the giant (John Aasen) who undoubtedly is the most memorable thing about the film. This guy is huge, and Lloyd only just tops his stomach.
Having helped the giant extract a tooth that had been giving him so much pain, Harold sets about getting his revenge on the would-be revolutionaries who put him in jail, and also saves his nurse from their clutches. Carrying out such heroic deeds helps him to discover he isn’t really a sickly person after all, but that he still wants his nurse to stick around anyway.
This is pleasant enough comedy, but it would probably be unremarkable if it wasn’t for the presence of the giant and all the comic set-pieces Lloyd builds around him.
(Reviewed 21st December 2009)