Never Weaken (1921)

Never Weaken (1921)
  • 1576
  • Passed
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Release year: 1921 ()
  • Running time: 19 min
  • Original Title: Never Weaken
  • Voted: 1576

Our hero (Lloyd) is infatuated with a girl in the next office. In order to drum up business for her boss, an osteopath, he gets an actor friend to pretend injuries that the doctor "cures", thereby building a reputation. When he hears that his girl is marrying another, he decides to commit suicide and spends the bulk of the film in thrilling, failed attempts.

1Harold LloydThe Boy
2Mildred DavisThe Girl
3Roy BrooksThe Other Man
4Mark JonesThe Acrobat
  • Another delightful Lloyd/Davis film with some of the best of his trademark stunts by 7

    Never Weaken came a year after the brilliant Haunted Spooks and touches on some of the same ideas but plays in a very different ways, including featuring an extended sequence of the stunning stunt-work best associated with Lloyd.

    Where Keaton had his dour expression and acrobatics and Chaplin had the pathos and funny walk of the tramp Lloyd is best remembered for his effervescence and his stunts. The stunts are never better represented than here which sees a protracted, thrilling and funny scene when Harold finds himself stranded on the beams of a building under construction. One gag in this sequence involving a ladder is as good as they come but the whole sequence is a delight.

    It might surprise people that a key theme here involves attempted suicide, something Keaton often tackled, but is less associated with the happy-go-lucky Lloyd, but it was something he visited on multiple occasions. Perfectly demonstrating what a fine line exists between comedy and tragedy this scene here explores the banalities that intrude and the difficulties of going through with such an act that when dwelt on are extremely astute but while watched are hilarious. The suicidal scenes of Haunted Spooks have bigger, and funnier gags and this is one extended scene here instead of a series of vignettes but still inspired as Harold figures out how to do it, dismissing various ways for funny, but oddly real reasons. The sequence is at it's best though when he delays the act because he gets caught up in the triviality of a miss-spelling in his suicide note! Lloyd regular (and later his wife) Mildred Davis again appears as the love interest, though has little to do here compared to some.

    The film is intriguingly split into three distinct segments, the slapstick laughs of the first section where Harold is trying to get patients for the doctor Mildred works for so she won't be fired; the smart wit of the suicidal second section; and then the thrilling stunts of the final section. Whichever part of Lloyd's art you like best Never Weaken can offer it to you, however as a whole it does feel a little like 3 10 minute shorts playing one after the other.

    Typically the title cards remain the most inspired and beautiful of any US silent comedian.

    Well worth catching. If you don't know Lloyd you couldn't get a better introduction to his talents.

  • a lot like three shorts combined by 7

    This is a very good Lloyd short, but in some ways it's like three totally different movie shorts grafted together. The overall effect, though, is excellent and this is a wonderful short.

    The first portion consists of Harold trying to help his girlfriend keep her job as a receptionist for a chiropractor by, rather unscrupulously, drumming up business for them. Harold is a bit uncharacteristically cruel during these efforts, but I gotta admit they are still quite funny.

    The second segment is also a bit uncharacteristic, as Harold mistakenly thinks his girl loves another so he tries repeatedly to kill himself. This is pretty maudlin and I felt just a tiny bit uneasy laughing at suicide.

    However, it then transitioned from this into a live-action version of a Sweet Pea and Popeye cartoon. You know, the one where the baby climbs onto a high-rise under construction and nearly gets killed again and again and again. Harold Lloyd handles these stunts very deftly and the film ends when he is saved and he learns that his girl not only wants to marry him but the guy she was talking to earlier turned out to be her brother--the preacher! A cute film.

  • Sometimes Killing Yourself Is Just So Difficult by 7

    The title doesn't make any sense, but otherwise this is a terrific Harold Lloyd short that demonstrates why Lloyd was so beloved.

    I watched this shortly after watching another Lloyd short, "Haunted Spooks" (mostly because they come together on the same DVD), and it's very similar in premise to the first half of "Spooks." Lloyd plays a young man who thinks the love of his life is in love with someone else, and he decides to commit suicide. Of course, he's Harold Lloyd, so things don't go as planned, and he instead finds himself dangling above New York city from a construction site. These scenes are real nail biters, as one thing after another threatens to send him plummeting, and Lloyd showcases the dare-devilry that was so common to silent comedy actors from that time.

    Grade: A

  • NEVER WEAKEN (Fred Newmeyer, 1921) *** by 7

    This is one of Harold Lloyd's best shorts and the second of his thrill comedies (in chronological order) to be included in this collection. The film can be neatly divided into three sections: the first sees Harold ingeniously gathering patients for the despondent clinic where his beloved, Mildred Davis, works (and which probably influenced Lloyd's later feature FOR HEAVEN'S SAKE [1926]); the second, as was the case with many a Lloyd comedy, he goes through several failed attempts at suicide (when he mistakes Mildred's clergyman brother for her lover!); the last third - and the undeniable highlight - has the star up to his neck in trouble when he ends up high in the air on a construction site (featuring some of Lloyd's most incredible stuntwork, the whole idea was borrowed by Laurel & Hardy for the second half of one of their most popular Silent shorts, LIBERTY [1929]).

  • Out On A Girder With Mr. Lloyd by 10

    A HAROLD LLOYD Short Subject.

    A lovesick young man must NEVER WEAKEN when he unexpectedly finds himself in a most precarious & dangerous situation.

    Here is one of Harold Lloyd's thrill pictures, which offers quick-moving comedy and genuine suspense. The first half of the film has Harold trying to roundup patients for his girlfriend's boss. The second half puts Harold up on the framework of a building under construction - clutching, crawling & careening out over empty space. His obvious athletic ability is made even more remarkable by the fact that he was using only half of his right hand, his disfigurement, caused by a studio accident, hidden by a glove.

    Pretty Mildred Davis, who would soon become Mrs. Harold Lloyd, plays the object of his affections.

1Walter Lundincinematographer
2Robert Israelcomposer
3Fred C. Newmeyerdirector
4Hal Roachwriter
5Sam Taylorwriter
6H.M. Walkerwriter