New York State Writers Institute - Classic Film Series

The Sin of Harold DiddlebockTHE SIN OF HAROLD DIDDLEBOCK

November 1, 2002 (Friday) at 7:30 p.m.
Page Hall, 135 Western Avenue
(Free and Open to the Public)

(American, 1947, 100 minutes, b&w, 16mm)

Directed by Preston Sturges
Starring Harold Lloyd, Jimmy Conlin, Raymond Walburn, Rudy Vallee

The Writers Institute will screen the rediscovered director's cut.

"a major rediscovery; a loving and gentle essay on Lloyd's screen character, laced with poignant observations about middle age." - Chicago Reader on the 100-minute version

Director Preston Sturges conceived this film to lure slapstick star Harold Lloyd out of retirement. The film begins with footage borrowed from Lloyd's 1925 silent comedy, THE FRESHMAN, establishing Diddlebock as a star college athlete. The film then flashes forwarded twenty years later to show that, despite his early promise, Diddlebock has become a Milquetoast in a dead-end job at an advertising agency.

The plot takes a bizarre turn when Diddlebock gets fired, drinks alcohol for the first time, and wakes up the next morning with a full-grown lion tied to his wrist--and no idea how it got there! This film is noteworthy for its clever verbal routines, its many homages to the Gold AGe of silent film, and its stellar cast of character actors including Jimmy Conlin, Edgar Kennedy, Raymond Walburn and Rudy Vallee.

DIDDLEBOCK was the product of a collaboration between Preston Sturges and billionaire producer Howard Hughes. The two disagreed sharply on the final cut and Hughes held up the film's release for three years. The film finally made it to theatres as MAD WEDNESDAY, pared down to 89 minutes from Sturges' preferred 100 minute version.