special-event-silent-classic-the-kid-brother-mar-17thTHE KID BROTHER Mar 17th
We screened Safety Last in 2008 to great acclaim. The Kid Brother is the film that Harold Lloyd himself took on tour in later years. It’s another comedy masterpiece, set in the Wild West away from his favoured urban settings, with Harold as the weakling of three brothers. So he has something to prove, if he’s to get the girl. There’s “a string of pratfalls, chases and derring-do, while the climax aboard an abandoned ship is a tour de force” – Time Out. (Cert U)
Dirs: Ted Wilde and J.A. Howe 82 mins USA 1927

Andrew Youdell returns to accompany on piano our annual silent film. The screening will begin at 7.30 p.m. and take place at St Nicolas Church, Market Place, Abingdon.

Programme Notes

Thursday, 17th March 2011 at Saint Nicolas Church, Abingdon

USA 1927, 82 mins (Cert. U)

The Kid Brother, considered by Harold Lloyd (1893-1971) as one of his own favourite films, takes place in the Wild West, with Lloyd playing the weakest out of three sons to Sheriff Jim Hickory. Lloyd’s character tries to impress his father by using his wits, rather than competing with his brothers’ strength, as he tries to woo Mary Powers, played by Jobyna Ralston (1899-1967), from a medicine show background.

The actual production had a chequered history. This is because the original director Lewis Milestone (1895-1980), best known for directing films like Mutiny on the Bounty and All Quiet on the Western Front, had to resign because of contractual difficulties with the Warner Brothers studio. Milestone was replaced by one of Lloyd’s gagmen Ted Wilde (1889-1929), but he left because of poor health. So Lloyd got some of his other gagmen, J.A. Howe and Lex Neal, to direct the film. It should be noted that Lloyd ended up directing a lot of this film, but, as with his other films, did not receive directorial credit, although he is usually credited as a producer. Lloyd also wanted plenty of gags for his film, so the film ended up having eight writers and gagmen working on the project. This film was also the last in which Lloyd and Ralston appeared together, their previous films including Why Worry and The Freshman.

“It packs a lot of good jokes into an hour and a half, has an action-comedy climax which is great fun, and makes as much use of its star’s personal charisma as his athletic gifts.”
Jay Seaver,

Our pianist this evening is Andrew Youdell, who has accompanied our annual silent classic every year since 1980. He regularly accompanies films at the National Film Theatre and works at the British Film Institute. He is a true friend to ABCD Film Society.

Harold Hickory – Harold Lloyd
Mary Powers – Jobyna Ralston
Jim Hickory – Walter James
Leo Hickory – Leo Willis
Olin Hickory – Olin Francis
Directors – Ted Wilde and J.A. Howe
Screenplay – John Grey, Ted Wilde, Tom Crizer
Cinematography – Walter Lundin
Editing – Allen McNeil
Producer – Harold Lloyd

Acknowledgement: ABCD Film Society would like to thank St Nicolas Church for permission to use the church once again for this event, and in particular David Howard and other members of the congregation for their support.


“An outstanding delight!”



“A really good laugh!”

“Brilliant film and accompaniment!”

“Fabulous film and piano accompaniment”

“Wonderful stuff – wonderful pianist!”

“Thanks, as always, to Andrew Youdell”

“A clever and inventive comedy Western that was technically innovative and entertaining. Youdell’s music brought out really well the film’s sentimental as well as its comic qualities.”

“Wonderful film. Many thanks to the Committee for organising this event again – and to Andrew for his performance.”

“Thank you to the Committee for making all the arrangements for such a good evening.”

“A lovely experience, with the piano accompaniment. The film improved after a very slow start and was quite funny by the end.”

“What did Chaplin do that Harold Lloyd hadn’t [already done]? Piano accompaniment excellent as always.”

“Better than Chaplin – not as good as Buster Keaton”

“Brilliant playing by [both] Harold and Andrew”

“Great – loved the dishwasher. What energy Harold Lloyd had!”

“A Hickory Highlight and a great start to the 2011 Arts Festival!”

“That was a [good] bang for your buck !!!”

“Really excellent but scenes on ship a bit too drawn out”

“Too silly for words!”


A:56, B:7, C:1, D:0, E:0 to give 96%