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Harold Lloyd

 

HOT WATER

 

Pathé, 1924.  Directed by Fred Newmeyer.  Camera:  Walter Lundin.  With Harold Lloyd, Jobyna Ralston, Josephine Crowell, Charles Stevenson, Mickey McBan, Wallace Howe, Andy DeVilla, Silas D. Wilcox, Pat Harmon, Fred Holmes.

 
   
       

Harold is running to his friend's wedding, for which he is best man, swearing that he would never succumb to "a pair of soft-boiled eyes."  Running, he knocks into Jobyna, she of such eyes, is instantly hooked, and is married by the next scene.

He has a long list of groceries, and struggles with the packages (including a live turkey he has just won in a store raffle).  He manages to get kicked off a crowded trolley, and makes it home, just in time to find out that his in-laws are coming for dinner.  The extended family arrives:  mother-in-law ("with the nerve of a book agent, the disposition of a dyspeptic landlord, and the heart of a traffic cop"); older brother Charley ("so lazy he gets up at four o'clock every morning so he'll have a longer day to loaf'); and little brother Bobby ("a child with a skin you love to touch—with a strap").

Hubby is temporarily distracted by the arrival of his new car, a Butterfly Six.  But, before he can propose that just he and Wifey take an inaugural spin around the block, the in-laws are in the car.  They get into one mishap after another and, within minutes, the new car is totaled.

Later, at home, a neighbor tells Harold how to handle a mother-in-law:  with a huge swig of whiskey.  Mother is a stern prohibitionist; she suspects Harold of drinking.  To quiet her down, an inebriated Harold drowns her napkin in chloroform.  She fades, slowly but surely, from the scent.  Harold, however, thinks he's killed her.

Charley, in the meantime, is on the phone trying to square the numerous traffic tickets Harold got on the joy ride from heck earlier in the day.  Harold overhears, "It can't be done, eh?  Well, he'll have to take the consequences,"  and feels he is doomed as a murderer.  Police are outside (complaining about the wreckage of the Butterfly Six in the street), and Harold is sure they're after him!

To add to his horror, Mother is sleepwalking, from the "dead"—she's after him, too!  After a melee induced by Harold's hysteria, the in-laws run (don't walk) home, and peace returns to Hubby and Wifey's "Home Sweet Home."

The Harold Lloyd Encyclopedia,
by Annette D'Agostino Lloyd
McFarland & Company, Inc.,
 
Jefferson, NC and London, 2004