Lizzies of the Field (1924)
Director: Del Lord
Cast: Billy Bevan, Sidney Smith, Jack Lloyd
Synopsis: Rival garages compete to win a big cross-country auto race.
How cool is this movie? Made by the legendary silent producer Mack Sennett, Lizzies of the Field is a manic little movie in which Billy Bevan, Sid Smith and Jack Lloyd are involved in a hair-raising 250-mile car race, and it epitomises everything that was so brilliant about silent comedy. The frantic pace never lets up for one second, and some of the stunt work is absolutely mind-blowing. At the start of the film, one car reverses into the starter’s high platform and then carries it with it as the driver finds first gear. Racing around mud roads at breakneck speeds, we see the two men atop the platform leap onto a railway track as the car drives beneath a bridge, then immediately leap over the side to hang from the edge as a locomotive roars past them. Imagine the split-second timing and the bravery (or stupidity) required to pull off a stunt like that without anyone losing their life. The film is full of crazy stunts like this and climaxes with a multiple pile-up as all of the competing cars race off the end of a ski-slope platform to crash down to earth on top of each other. Be sure to catch this one — it’s a gem.
(Reviewed 1st October 2009)