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The Freshman (1925 film): Wikis


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The Freshman

theatrical poster
Directed by Fred C. Newmeyer
Sam Taylor
Produced by Harold Lloyd
Written by John Grey
Sam Taylor
Tim Whelan
Ted Wilde
Starring Harold Lloyd
Jobyna Ralston
Music by Harold Berg
Cinematography Walter Lundin
Editing by Allen McNeil
Distributed by Pathé
Release date(s) 20 September 1925
Running time 76 minutes
Country United States
Language Silent film
English intertitles

The Freshman is a 1925 comedy film that tells the story of a college freshman trying to become popular by joining the school football team. It stars Harold Lloyd, Jobyna Ralston, Brooks Benedict and James Anderson. It remains one of Lloyd's most successful and enduring films.

The movie was written by John Grey, Sam Taylor, Tim Whelan and Ted Wilde. It was directed by Fred C. Newmeyer and Sam Taylor.

In 1990, The Freshman was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant", going in the second year of voting and being one of the first 50 films to receive such an honor.



Lloyd plays Harold 'Speedy' Lamb, a bright-eyed but hopelessly naïve young man who goes to Tate University to fulfill his dream of being popular.

Harold decides the best way to win the college over is to imitate his movie hero, The College Hero. He mimics him down to a little dance he does before greeting anyone for the first time. At college, he is quickly designated the "fool" and the entire college participates in an ongoing joke to make him think he's popular, when in fact he's the laughing stock of the whole school. He tries out for the college football team only to be made their practice tackle dummy and eventually their water boy. His only real friend is Peggy, his landlady's daughter, described in titles as "what your mother was like when she was young".

The whole thing finally falls apart during the "Fall Frolic" dance, in which Harold loses his clothes in the movie's biggest scene due to a mishap with the tailor. It is finally revealed to him just what everyone thinks of him. Deciding he'll show them all that he's not just a joke, Harold is determined to get into the next big football game. His chance comes when his coach runs out of players, and he makes the most of it, haphazardly scoring the winning touchdown, which at last earns him the respect and popularity he was after. But he doesn't even want it any more. He's happiest with the fact that Peggy has just announced her love for him.


The Freshman was Lloyd's most successful silent film of the 1920s, and was hugely popular at the time of its release. It sparked a craze for college films that lasted well beyond the 1920s, but none of these surpassed its high standard. Exteriors were filmed near the USC Campus in Los Angeles. The game sequence was shot on the field at the Rose Bowl, and the crowd scenes were shot at halftime at California Memorial Stadium during the November 1924 Big Game between UC Berkeley and Stanford University. The football game sequence was reused by Lloyd and director Preston Sturges in Lloyd's last film, The Sin of Harold Diddlebock (1947).

The Freshman is still a great audience pleaser at modern screenings, and is widely considered one of Lloyd's most hilarious, well-constructed films. The Freshman was one of Lloyd's only films to remain widely available after the sound era, and Lloyd reissued the film (with cuts) and used extended scenes in compilation films of the 1960s. The DVD release of Lloyd's films in 2004 includes the full, restored version of the film as shown in the 1920s.

Pete the Pup makes a cameo in the movie.


American Film Institute recognition


Copyright lawsuit

American humorist and author H. C. Witwer sued Lloyd in April 1929 for $2,300,000 over The Freshman, claiming that it was "pirated" from Witwer's short story "The Emancipation of Rodney", first published in 1915.[1] Although Witwer died from liver failure in Los Angeles, California, on 9 August 1929, the lawsuit had not been settled.[2] Witwer's widow pursued the lawsuit and won a judgement against Lloyd in November 1930.[3] On appeal, the United States Court of Appeals overturned the ruling and Witwer's widow received nothing.[4]

See also


  1. ^ "H. C. Witwer sues Lloyd over story". Los Angeles Times: p. A20. 1929-04-12. 
  2. ^ "Death grasps pen of Witwer". Los Angeles Times: p. A1. 1929-08-10. 
  3. ^ "Finds Harold Lloyd pirated Witwer plot". The New York Times: p. 48. 1930-11-19. 
  4. ^ "Court victory won by Lloyd". Los Angeles Times: p. 8. 1933-04-11. 

External links



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