Criterion Collection: The Freshman [Blu-ray]
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Harold Lloyd’s biggest box-office hit was this silent comedy gem, featuring the befuddled everyman at his eager best as a new college student. Though he dreams of being a big man on campus, the freshman’s careful plans inevitably go hilariously awry, be it on the football field or at the Fall Frolic. But he gets a climactic chance to prove his mettle—and impress the sweet girl he loves—in one of the most famous sports sequences ever filmed.
New 4K digital transfer from a restoration by the UCLA Film and Television Archive New orchestral score, composed and conducted by Carl Davis, presented in uncompressed stereo on the Blu-ray Audio commentary featuring director and Harold Lloyd archivist Richard Correll, film historian Richard Bann, and film critic and historian Leonard Maltin Lloyd’s prologue to the 1966 rerelease of the film Three newly restored Lloyd shorts: The Marathon (1919), with a new score by Gabriel Thibaudeau, and An Eastern Westerner and High and Dizzy (both 1920), with new scores composed and conducted by Davis Big Man on Campus, a new visual essay on the film’s locations by silent-film historian John Bengtson Conversation between Correll and film historian Kevin Brownlow Footage from a 1963 Delta Kappa Alpha tribute to Lloyd, featuring comedian Steve Allen, director Delmer Daves, and actor Jack Lemmon Lloyd’s 1953 appearance on the television show What’s My Line? PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by critic Stephen Winer
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Top Customer Reviews
This is a beautifully restored version with great bonus features.
bob, why are you even browsing amazon if you're too cheap to spend money on a quality movie. Why don't you stick to cat videos on youtube?
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Unlike others , I enjoy the BR / DVD sets.... I have a DVD player in my computer and in my office so the ability to watch the recent Criterion releases in both Standard and hi definition with a single purchase I find helpful ...and a space saver for my collection, but I digress.
Normally I cringe when I hear Harold Lloyd described as "the third genius" with Chaplin and Keaton. In my humble opinion at his very best he approaches what the other two did as a matter of routine and I even wondered if I should buy this. I think what put me over the top was that I rate "The Freshman" as one of his best and I know his films are in good state so it should look much more like a vintage Chaplin and much better than (sadly) most of the Keaton classic films of the 20's and the print does not disappoint.
I do believe that this was Lloyd's most popular film and while not of the "thrill" variety that he popularized shows his character at his most earnest and likeable. This also predates Buster Keaton's "College" by a couple of years.
But this is very expensive for a film of just over an hour in length (76 minutes) so how can I rate it that high? As I said, it is a good film , one of his best and a classic of the silent era. The bonus features are another thing all together and why I rate this a 5 star value. The first one I checked out was a delicious 7 minutes from Mr Lloyd's appearance on "What's My Line?" where he displays such charm and humor. The nearly 40 minute interview with archivists and friends of Mr Lloyd , Kevin Brownlow and Richard Correll had me thoroughly entertained as well. Author John Bengston , as he has done for others like Keaton, presents a visual essay on the various locations used for filming. I should add that as a lifelong resident in Southern California that feature may appeal to me more than those in other parts of the world. There is a half hour segment from the film "Harold Lloyd's Funny Side of Life" which contains an introduction from Mr Lloyd to The Freshman and a chunk of that feature film featuring many greatest hits clips from his career! The bonus features continue with 3 very classic Lloyd short films "The Marathon" from 1919 , "High and Dizzy" and " An Eastern Westerner" both from 1920 with newly created scores. There is a great audio commentary for the main feature with the previously noted Correll, Leonard Maltin and Richard Bann. I almost forgot another half hour of film where Mr Lloyd was being honored by USC fraternity in 1963 ...featuring Steve Allen and Jack Lemmon paying tribute to him and his own appearance.
So... what we have is a legitimate silent classic, lovingly presented and surrounded with a plethora of bonus features that enhance the experience for me to a great extent and I can say have made this a very treasured part of my film collection. Highly Recommended!
[hint: for ease of navigation, read the review though to the end, then come back and click on the links.]
The best available prints.
Whenever there was overlap, I chose the best-looking transfer.
There are three primary sources:
-- CRITERION (Blu-Ray & DVD):
THE FRESHMAN - Reviewed on this page.
SAFETY LAST: ( Safety Last! (Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray]) - or - Safety Last! (Criterion Collection) (DVD)
SPEEDY: Speedy (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray] - or - Speedy (The Criterion Collection) (DVD)
-- NEW LINE: New Line Home Entertainment: The Harold Lloyd Comedy Collection Vols. 1-3
Authorized by the Harold Lloyd estate, Transfered from the original negatives, Published 2005.
The Harold Lloyd Collection, Vol. 1 (Slapstick Symposium) -- includes 2 early shorts unavailable elsewhere
The Harold Lloyd Collection, Vol. 2 (Slapstick Symposium) -- includes 5 early shorts unavailable elsewhere
Public domain prints, Published 2004.
SILENT FILM SHORTS:
1918: Are Crooks Dishonest? * ---- KINO vol. 1
1918: The City Slicker * -------------- KINO vol. 2
1918: The Non-Stop Kid * ----------- KINO vol. 2
1918: Take a Chance * -------------- CRITERION: SAFETY LAST
1918: Two Gun Gussie * ------------- KINO vol. 2
1919: Ask Father * --------------------- NEW LINE vol. 1
1919: Billy Blazes, Esq.* ------------ NEW LINE vol. 2
1919: Bumping Into Broadway * --- CRITERION: SPEEDY
1919: Captain Kidd's Kids * --------- KINO vol. 2
1919: Just Neighbors * --------------- KINO vol. 1
1919: The Marathon * ---------------- CRITERION: FRESHMAN
1919: Ring Up the Curtain * -------- KINO vol. 2
1919: Young Mr. Jazz * ------------- CRITERION: SAFETY LAST
1919: From Hand to Mouth ** ----- NEW LINE vol. 1
1920: An Eastern Westerner ** --- CRITERION: FRESHMAN
1920: Get Out and Get Under ** -- NEW LINE vol. 3
1920: Haunted Spooks ** ----------- NEW LINE vol. 3 -- with commentary
1920: High and Dizzy ** ------------- CRITERION: FRESHMAN
1920: His Royal Slyness ** --------- CRITERION: SAFETY LAST
1920: Number Please? ** ----------- NEW LINE vol. 3
1921: Among Those Present ** --- NEW LINE vol. 3
1921: I Do ** ---------------------------- NEW LINE vol. 3
1921: Never Weaken ** ------------- NEW LINE vol. 3
1921: Now or Never ** -------------- NEW LINE vol. 2
SILENT FEATURE FILMS:
1921: A Sailor-Made Man ** ---- NEW LINE vol. 3
1922: Grandma's Boy ** --------- NEW LINE vol. 2
1922: Dr. Jack ** ------------------ NEW LINE vol. 2
1923: Safety Last! ** ------------- CRITERION -- with commentary
1923: Why Worry? *** ------------ NEW LINE vol. 1
1924: Hot Water *** --------------- NEW LINE vol. 3
1924: Girl Shy *** ----------------- NEW LINE vol. 1
1925: The Freshman *** -------- CRITERION -- with commentary
1926: For Heaven's Sake *** --- NEW LINE vol. 3
1927: The Kid Brother *** ------- NEW LINE vol. 2 -- with commentary
1928: Speedy ---------------------- CRITERION -- with commentary
* costarring Bebe Daniels (spunky)
** costarring Mildred Davis (adorable)
*** costarring Jobyna Ralston (adorable yet spunky)
SOUND FEATURE FILMS:
1930: Feet First ---------- NEW LINE vol. 2
1932: Movie Crazy ------ NEW LINE vol. 3
1934: The Cat's Paw --- NEW LINE vol. 1
1936: The Milky Way -- NEW LINE vol. 1
Note: Three sound features: WELCOME DANGER (1929), PROFESSOR BEWARE (1938) and THE SIN OF HAROLD DIDDLEBOCK (1947) are awaiting satisfactory DVD release.
-- THE SIN OF HAROLD DIDDLEBOCK is in the public domain, with mediocre prints on several budget labels.
I recommend The Sin of Harold Diddlebock / Heartbeat , which makes up in quantity what it lacks in quality.
--WELCOME DANGER was broadcast on Turner Classic Movies in June, 2014.
Additions / Corrections to this list are welcome.
The Criterion Blu-Rays of THE FRESHMAN, SAFETY LAST and SPEEDY are based on the same prints that New Line used
I have no complaint, especially as the New Line DVDs are now out-of-print and starting to get pricey.
They were produced by the Harold Lloyd estate from the original negatives.
Unlike a lot of silent films that are in terrible shape, the Harold Lloyd negatives were stored in a vault on the actor's estate.
Criterion has added additional bonus material, including four shorts that were not on New Line,
plus Kevin Brownlow's 1989 PBS documentary "Harold Lloyd: The Third Genius" (with SAFETY LAST) - watch this first if you are new to Harold Lloyd.
I hope Criterion will reissue the remaining New Line titles along with additional shorts.
THE KID BROTHER (1927) already has a Carl Davis score and would be a likely candidate for the Criterion treatment,
but I have no inside information.