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Refocus: the Films of Preston Sturges$
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Jeff Jaeckle and Sarah Kozloff

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9781474406550

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: May 2017

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781474406550.001.0001

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Falling Hard: The Sin of Harold Diddlebock

Falling Hard: The Sin of Harold Diddlebock

(p.173) Chapter 8 Falling Hard: The Sin of Harold Diddlebock
Refocus: the Films of Preston Sturges

Joe McElhaney

Edinburgh University Press

This chapter addresses The Sin of Harold Diddlebock, Preston Sturges’s independent production after leaving Paramount.Diddlebock is an idiosyncratic film that takes many of the implications of Sturges’s cinema in some new directions. An expensive film that nevertheless looks low budget, Diddlebock is a film in which American ideals of money and social and economic success are the targets of ruthless satire. In addition, Sturges is obsessed here with temporality, the film’s images dominated by stasis, decay, and decline. In the title role, the aging silent comedy star Harold Lloyd embodies this idea of decline with a particular clarity. The film, while self-consciously drawing upon the “Harold” myth of Lloyd’s classic silent period, relentlessly exposes the fact that Harold has aged, his words and gestures now reduced to the level of cliché.

Keywords:   Harold Lloyd, Money, success, temporality, aging, decline, gestures, cliché

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