Hot Water (1924)

HOT WATER (1924)
Article 4118 by Dave Sindelar
Date: 12-28-2012
Directed by Fred C. Newmeyer and Sam Taylor
Featuring Harold Lloyd, Jobyna Ralston, Josephine Crowell
Country: USA
What it is: Comedy

A newlywed discovers that married life isn’t all it’s cracked up to be… especially when the in-laws show up.

As this movie was closing in on its last few minutes, I found myself scratching my head over what the fantastic content was, and found myself checking the Don Willis guide (which listed the movie) and the Walt Lee guide (which consigned it to the “out” list). I was just about to consign it to the land of genre false alarms when the movie, in the last four minutes, threw in all of the fantastic elements at once; there’s a resurrection from the dead, a ghost, a haunted house, and a crawling hand. Granted, they’re all misunderstandings, but at least they were finally there.

As for the movie in its entirety, I found it a highly entertaining entry in the oeuvre of Harold Lloyd. Like so many of the comedies of this type, it plays like a series of shorts, and falls roughly into three sections. In the first, Harold has to negotiate his way home while carrying a huge amount of groceries, a problem further complicated when he wins a prize turkey that is very much alive. The second section has Lloyd taking the family out for a spin in the new family car, only to have disaster follow in its wake. The final sequence has Lloyd getting drunk so he can stand up to his mother-in-law, but ends up mistakenly believing that he has inadvertently murdered her; it is the complications that follow this sequence that lead to the fantastic content. Lloyd is such a confident and likable presence that he makes it all work smoothly; my favorite sequence has him mistaking the meaning of the actions and words of several people to reinforce his fear that he has committed murder. This is a truly amusing comedy.

1 Comment

  1. Of all the Harold Lloyd silent features this was the only one where he never had to win the girl, as he weds her in the first scene, thereafter it’s the in-laws he has to deal with. The mother-in-law has ‘the heart of a traffic cop,’ the brother-in-law so lazy ‘he has to get up at 4:30 so he’ll have a longer day to loaf,’ and the youngest brat, ‘with a skin you love to touch – with a strap.’

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