T. alt.: Roido no buyu-den. Sog.: Sam Taylor. F.: Walter Lundin. Mo.: Thomas J. Crizer. Int.: Harold Lloyd (Harold Van Pelham), Jobyna Ralston (l’infermiera), John Aasen (Colosso), Wallace Howe (il cameriere), James Mason (Jim Blake), Leo White (Herculeo), Gaylord Lloyd (un uomo), Mark Jones (il capitano). Prod.: Hal Roach Studios 35mm. D.: 29’. Bn.
A hypochondriac businessman leaves the United States for a tropical island in order to recover his health, but finds himself entangled in a revolution. This early feature by American comedian Harold Lloyd needs little introduction to cinephiles, but its presence here will no doubt surprise audiences. It is included in this programme as a rare surviving example of a foreign silent film issued for re-release in Japan with a recorded benshi commentary attached. The print is a condensation of the original film, running about half the length of the hour-long US release. This version was confiscated by SCAP (the occupying authorities) in the aftermath of World War II, and later repatriated to Japan. It is assumed, however, that the re-editing and the recording of the benshi track actually took place before the war.
Lloyd was himself immensely popular in Japan, and his distinctive glasses sparked a craze for similar frames, that earned the name ‘Lloyd glasses’. His comedies, especially The Freshman, were also a key influence on the early work of such Shochiku directors as Yasujiro Ozu and Hiroshi Shimizu.