The Criterion Collection release of Harold Lloyd's masterpiece The Kid Brother https://www.criterion.com/films/28499-the-kid-brother is loaded with special interviews, two rare shorts, and my visual essay Close to Home describing where and how the movie was staged, primarily at the Lasky Ranch.
This 1922 view of the Lasky Ranch shows the bullfighting ring set for Valentino's Blood and Sand (yellow), the giant barn and ranch home set for The Old Homestead, that portrays the Hooper barn and home during The Kid Brother (red), and the north side of the hill (blue) from which Harold climbs a tree to keep Jobyna Ralston in view following their initial meeting during the film. Photo Marc Wanamaker - Bison Archives.
In his review Leonard Maltin writes my "eye-opening" essay "about locations is one of his all-time best, with some genuine revelations. Only he would think to examine—in minute and fascinating detail—the background in the famous scene where Harold climbs a tree rather than say goodbye to his departing girlfriend. And only John would be able to determine a number of movie industry landmarks in the process."
My essay demonstrates how Harold climbed the tree with the future site of the Walt Disney Studio directly to the north behind him in the background. I even locate the site of Harold's family ranch set, now part of the Mt. Sinai cemetery, relative to some trees appearing in The Birth of A Nation that still survive today at Forest Lawn.
Above, matching Then, Then, and Now views of the Lasky Ranch/Forest Lawn. The scene at left employs a special effect. Vintage photo Mary Mallory - color photo E.J. Stephens.
This post provides a brief overview of my visual essay, which contains many new discoveries. I hope you will check out the wonderful Criterion Blu-ray. It was an honor to work on the essay, and I'm really pleased with how it turned out.
Thanks for listening - John
Interact with your favorite SCM authors, producers, directors, historians, archivists and silent comedy savants. Or just read along. Whatever.
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