Screened as part of NZIFF 2008

The Kid Brother 1927

Directed by Ted Wilde

The Festival and The Trusts are proud to present the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra in a single rare screening of one of the great comedy classics of the silent era.

USA In English
84 minutes 35mm / B&W



J.A. Howe


John Grey
Tom Crizer
Ted Wilde


Walter Lundin


Allen McNeil


Harold Lloyd
Jobyna Ralston
Walter James
Leo Willis
Olin Francis
C. Romanoff
Eddie Boland
Frank Lanning
Hank Hooper


The Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra returns to the Auckland International Film Festival to perform Carl Davis‘ score for Harold Lloyd‘s The Kid Brother, one of the great but all-too-rarely seen comedies of the 20s. Lloyd was the most successful comedian of the silent era, more popular than Buster Keaton and in more films than Charlie Chaplin. Though he made a pair of spectacles his trademark, he was as physically daring a movie actor as ever lived. He‘s best known for scaling a skyscraper in the hilariously nerve-racking Safety Last but his comic masterpiece is the uncharacteristically rustic The Kid Brother. Like most of the great silent classics, The Kid Brother was made at the end of the 20s just as the artform was reaching its peak - and just as the first whisperings of the sound era were beginning to be heard. Lloyd would make only one further silent comedy.

Normally cast as the gauche but plucky get-ahead American boy, here he plays the gentle Harold Hickory, the youngest son in a family of burly mountain lawmen. When the lovely Mary Powers (Jobyna Ralston) arrives in town with the crooks who‘ve taken over her family‘s medicine show, her eligibility for rescue sets brother against brother in one of the finest - and funniest - of all the silent comedies. The gags are beautifully integrated with character and plot - and relentless enough to satisfy the most craven of 21st-century attention spans. The climactic chase and confrontation with the villain, complicated by the participation of a small monkey, contain thrills and spills so dramatic that you may develop bruises from simply watching. — BG

"The Kid Brother is a kind of male Cinderella story, with Lloyd as the frail Harold Hickory, much put upon by his elderly father who is sheriff of a backwoods town, and his muscular elder brothers. Lloyd was never more appealing than in those films where the quick guile of his character was set in opposition to the blundering brutishness of the world and was employed not for material advancement but simply for survival. There is a purity of motive in these pictures that renders them, and their leading man, particularly attractive." — Richard Schickel, Harold Lloyd: The Shape of Laughter

Carl Davis is the doyen of contemporary composers for silent film. His big symphonic scores for Intolerance, Ben Hur, The Wedding March and The Wind have thrilled Auckland Live Cinema audiences. His score for The Kid Brother reproduces the playful style and smaller scale of orchestral accompaniment that would have been standard fare at the Civic in the 1920s. This authenticity notwithstanding, the originality of Davis' melodic lines and the intricacy of synchronisation refine the art of film accompaniment far beyond the capacities of the old cinema pit bands.

Marc Taddei has conducted the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra in the Festival's Live Cinema performances of Carl Davis' scores for The Wind and Our Hospitality. Taddei, a Masters graduate of the Juilliard School in Manhattan, has conducted in North America and Europe and is a frequent guest conductor throughout New Zealand. In 2007 he became Music Director of the Vector Wellington Orchestra. An advocate of new media in performance, and extra-musical collaboration as a means of enriching the artistic experience, Marc has worked with many of New Zealand's finest composers and visual artists in groundbreaking orchestral and visual collaborations.