If we define a feature film as being more then four reels (approximately 40 minutes), than GRANDMA'S BOY was comedian Harold Lloyd's first feature. It is a bright and clever comedy, the kind of good-natured, warm-hearted movie that would always characterize not only Lloyd's best films but also those of producer Hal Roach, who would later become famous for the Laurel and Hardy and Our Gang films. These two men were great friends and labored to make to make each Lloyd film as good as it could be.
GRANDMA'S BOY contains a wonderful example of how they worked together. The main story is about a boy (Harold) who is meek and cowardly, unable to stand up to bullies or fight for the girl he loves. The middle section of the film is a flashback to the Civil War, telling the story the Boy's grandfather, and how he became a hero. Lloyd played the Civil War sequence completely straight, and Roach, worrying about a long section of the film where the audience would have nothing to laugh at, wanted it cut. Lloyd argued that the sequence was essential to the film, and Roach complained that it stopped the film dead in its tracks. Neither one was willing to budge, so they worked out a brilliant compromise. Little gag sequences were shot that could easily be edited into the finished feature, so that Lloyd got the story he wanted and and Roach retained the laughs he wanted. That dedication to quality would mark all of Lloyd's silent features, of which GRANDMA'S BOY is one of his best. - JB