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Preston Sturges, the great satirist of the 40s, coaxed Harold Lloyd out of retirement for this 1947 comedy, which follows the hero of Lloyd's classic The Freshman through the complications of later life. The film went unreleased for three years—while its producer, Howard Hughes, hacked away at it—and finally emerged as Mad Wednesday in 1950. Sturges's restored original version is a major rediscovery: a loving and gentle essay on Lloyd's screen character, laced with poignant observations about middle age. In some ways, it's Lloyd's Limelight, a brave backward look, with humor and regret, at an entire career. With Frances Ramsden, Jimmy Conlin, Raymond Walburn, Edgar Kennedy, Arline Judge, Franklin Pangborn, Lionel Stander, and Rudy Vallee. 89 min.

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