For Reel

6 Day Bike Rider (1934)
April 18, 2015, 12:25 pm
Filed under: Reviews | Tags: , ,

Director: Lloyd Bacon
3 Stars
6 Day Bike Rider6 Day Bike Rider involves the sort of redemptive narrative arc that Harold Lloyd might have starred in. Joe E. Brown is introduced as a near-sighted wet blanket who doesn’t manage to compliment his supreme lack of talent with anything resembling sensitivity or heart. To impress his girlfriend (Colleen Doyle), who has been stolen from him by a married trick cyclist (Gordon Westcott), he enters the titular race and wins her back. Brown’s mugging and eagerness-to-please made him a huge charmer for rural audiences, and he often excelled at playing lovable smart alecks. But his smug, thoroughly unpleasant hero in 6 Day Bike Rider is so thoroughly detestable that watching him redeem himself isn’t quite as cathartic as it might have been in a different comedian’s hands (the aforementioned Lloyd would have brought an amiability that Brown lacks). Director Lloyd Bacon nicely handles the suspense during the racing sequence using every prop imaginable. There’s a particularly inspired gag using chloroform, as well as a particularly creative way of getting a coffee fix mid-race.

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