33 user 10 critic

The Sin of Harold Diddlebock (1947)

Approved | | Comedy | 4 April 1947 (USA)
Twenty years after his triumphs as a freshman on the football field, Harold is a mild-mannered clerk who dreams about marrying the girl at the desk down the aisle. But losing his job ... See full summary »


Preston Sturges


Preston Sturges (original screenplay)
Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 1 nomination. See more awards »


Learn more

More Like This 

Comedy | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

Temperamental saloon singer Freddie Jones, jealously shoots at her cheating boyfriend Blackie but mistakenly hits Judge Alfalfa J. O'Toole's honorable behind, forcing her to skip town under the guise of a schoolteacher.

Director: Preston Sturges
Stars: Betty Grable, Cesar Romero, Rudy Vallee
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6/10 X  

Major Thompson, an Englishman living in France, comments in his memoirs on the peculiarities of his French wife and friends.

Director: Preston Sturges
Stars: Jack Buchanan, Martine Carol, Noël-Noël
The Cat's-Paw (1934)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

A naive missionary brought up in China returns to America to seek a wife. Corrupt politicians enlist him to run for mayor as a dummy candidate with no chance of winning.

Directors: Sam Taylor, Harold Lloyd
Stars: Harold Lloyd, Una Merkel, George Barbier
Certificate: Passed Biography | Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

The biography of Dr. W. T. Morgan, a 19th century Boston dentist, during his quest to have anesthesia, in the form of ether, accepted by the public and the medical and dental establishment.

Director: Preston Sturges
Stars: Joel McCrea, Betty Field, Harry Carey
Certificate: Passed Comedy | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

Woodrow is discharged from the military for hay fever, but fabricates receiving a heroic honorable discharge before returning home.

Director: Preston Sturges
Stars: Eddie Bracken, Ella Raines, Raymond Walburn
Certificate: Passed Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

When the co-workers of an ambitious clerk trick him into thinking he has won $25,000 in a slogan contest, he begins to use the money to fulfill his dreams. What will happen when the ruse is discovered?

Director: Preston Sturges
Stars: Dick Powell, Ellen Drew, Raymond Walburn
The Milky Way (1936)
Certificate: Passed Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

Timid milkman, Burleigh Sullivan (Lloyd), somehow knocks out a boxing champ in a brawl. The fighter's manager decides to build up the milkman's reputation in a series of fixed fights and ... See full summary »

Directors: Leo McCarey, Ray McCarey, and 1 more credit »
Stars: Harold Lloyd, Adolphe Menjou, Verree Teasdale
Hot Water (1924)
Certificate: Passed Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Episodic look at married life and in-law problems. Adventures include a ride on a crowded trolley with a live turkey; a wild spin in a new auto with the in-laws in tow; and a sequence in ... See full summary »

Directors: Fred C. Newmeyer, Sam Taylor
Stars: Harold Lloyd, Jobyna Ralston, Josephine Crowell
Comedy | Romance | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

After an all-night send-off party for the troops, a small-town girl wakes up to find herself married and pregnant, but with no memory of her husband's identity.

Director: Preston Sturges
Stars: Eddie Bracken, Betty Hutton, Diana Lynn
Girl Shy (1924)
Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

A shy, young man, who is completely incapable of talking to women, decides to write a book that details to other bachelors how to find a girlfriend.

Directors: Fred C. Newmeyer, Sam Taylor
Stars: Harold Lloyd, Jobyna Ralston, Richard Daniels
Certificate: Passed Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

Egyptologist, Dean Lambert (Lloyd), accused of car-theft, skips bail and begins a cross-country trek to join a group in New York headed for Egypt. With the police close on his trail he gets... See full summary »

Director: Elliott Nugent
Stars: Harold Lloyd, Phyllis Welch, William Frawley
Vendetta (1950)
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

The daughter of a slain man pushes her brother toward vengeance in 19th-century Corsica.

Directors: Mel Ferrer, Stuart Heisler, and 3 more credits »
Stars: Faith Domergue, George Dolenz, Donald Buka


Cast overview, first billed only:
Harold Lloyd ... Harold Diddlebock
Jimmy Conlin ... Wormy
Raymond Walburn ... E.J. Waggleberry
Rudy Vallee ... Lynn Sargent
Edgar Kennedy ... Jake the Bartender
Arline Judge ... Manicurist
Franklin Pangborn ... Formfit Franklin
Lionel Stander ... Max
Margaret Hamilton ... Flora
Jack Norton ... James R. Smoke
Robert Dudley ... Robert McDuffy
Arthur Hoyt ... J.P. Blackstone
Julius Tannen ... Nearsighted Banker
Al Bridge ... Wild Bill Hickock
Robert Greig ... Algernon McNiff


Twenty years after his triumphs as a freshman on the football field, Harold is a mild-mannered clerk who dreams about marrying the girl at the desk down the aisle. But losing his job destroys that dream, and when he finds a particularly potent drink at his local bar, he goes on a very strange and funny rampage (with a lion in tow). Written by Kathy Li

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Yes Sir! Wednesday was WILD! Wednesday was RUGGED! THE WILDEST WACKIEST MOST HILARIOUS AND COMPLETELY BOLLIXED-UP DAY YOU EVER HEARD OF! (original print ad - mostly caps) See more »




Approved | See all certifications »






Release Date:

4 April 1947 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Mad Wednesday See more »


Box Office


$1,712,959 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

California Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


| (1950 re-release) | (DVD)

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


The failure of the original copyright holder to renew the film's copyright resulted in it falling into public domain, meaning that virtually anyone could duplicate and sell a VHS/DVD copy of the film. Therefore, many of the versions of this film available on the market are either severely (and usually badly) edited and/or of extremely poor quality, having been duped from second- or third-generation (or more) copies of the film. See more »


When Diddlebock reaches for Jackie's lead with his foot and knocks it over the edge, Jackie is standing up close to the wall. The next shot immediately after shows Jackie sitting down. See more »


Jake: This calls for a little celebration, Mr., eh...
Harold Diddlebock: Diddlebock. Harold Diddlebock.
Jake: Diddle what?
Harold Diddlebock: Diddlebock. Bock - as in beer.
Jake: Oh, I thought you said, Diddlebuck - as in buckwheat cakes.
Harold Diddlebock: No, I didn't
Wormy: Brother Diddlebuck, eh, back, eh, bu, eh, what's the matter with me?
Harold Diddlebock: Bock.
See more »

Crazy Credits

"... and for the first time a young girl called Frances Ramsden playing the youngest Miss Otis" See more »

Alternate Versions

Originally released at 90 minutes; was then re-edited and re-released in a shorter 79-minutes version under the title "Mad Wednesday" in 1950. See more »


Featured in Film Breaks: The Silent Comics (1999) See more »


from "Orpheus in the Underworld"
Music by Jacques Offenbach
Played during the can-can scene
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Not a classic, but certainly deserves to be remembered
15 December 2000 | by d_fienbergSee all my reviews

Harold Lloyd and Preston Sturges are in the same boat, really. In their respective times, they were beloved stars. Now, the rank and file don't really remember them, or if they do remember them it's for a limited selection of films which don't necessarily reflect their full bodies of work. For Lloyd, audiences really only know him as the guy who's always hanging from the clock in the Chuck Workman montages that pop up during award shows, no concept at all that he was, in his time, far more successful than Buster Keaton and on the same level as Chaplin. And for Sturges, only filmlovers really remember him, even though the best of his films, like Palm Beach Story and Sullivan's Travels are among the very best of their time.

Lloyd, of course, was a silent comedy icon. After the depression is career slumped and while he made a series of largely unsuccessful sound films trying to maintain the verve of his silent comedies, audiences simply were not interested. In 1947, though, he attempted another comeback in the film The Sins of Harold Diddlebock. Directed by Preston Sturges, Diddlebock capitalized on Lloyd's past rather than avoiding it. The film took the interesting question "What happened to Harold Lamb (Lloyd's character from The Freshman, his most popular silent film) after the Depression?" In doing so, the film also examined what happened to Lloyd's image.

Diddlebock opens with the final 10 minutes of The Freshman, the triumphant football game. Shifting to sound almost immediately after the final whistle, Lloyd's character goes from youthful exuberance to aged desperation. Following the game, we discover, Harold took a bookkeeping job at an ad agency hoping to move straight to the top. Like his character in Safety Last (the classic where he hangs from that big clock) all he wanted was the chance to pitch his one great idea. But that chance never came and nearly twenty years after he lost his savings in the Crash, Harold loses his job as well. Grey haired, face set in wrinkles, Harold goes into the world with only a small pension. But with the help of a night of drinking, a horse named after his aunt, a look-alike sister played by Margaret Hamilton (the Wicked Witch of the West), and an old boozehound named Worm, he reclaims his comic genius, briefly owns a circus with 37 lions, and, well, perhaps you can see where this late screwball comedy is going. Diddlebock went nearly a million dollars over budget and was reedited and renamed (to Mad Wednesday). It was a disaster.

Looking at the film objectively, many years later, it certainly isn't so bad. The central stylistic conceit is that the silent slapstick of Lloyd's age and the verbal acrobatics that made Sturges famous were not so different at all. Sturges goes so far as to change Lloyd's character's name from "Lamb" to "Diddlebock" to create a slapstick of nomenclature. Diddlebock also proves fairly conclusively that Lloyd's decline was not caused by an inability to handle speaking roles. In this film he keeps up his end of the witty repartee and even harmonizes in a chorus of "Auld Lang Syne." The film also pays homage to Safety Last's human fly scene with a skyscraper chase scene involving Lloyd and a lion. Even at 53, Lloyd was still fit enough to handle the stunts, including swinging upside down from a leash. And yet, for all of its charm, Diddlebock must have seemed out of place. By that point audiences probably didn't remember Lloyd and didn't want to remember the Depression.

The problem is that the film is just a little too clunky and, like the worst of Sturges's writing, relies largely on expositional monologues to justify plot contrivances. Also, the film just doesn't have the zip that Sturges's films had at their peak. Still, it's a pleasant combination of elements, capitalizing on Lloyd's considerable personal appeal, Sturges's talent (even low Sturges is better than, well, most things), and several members of Sturges's stock troupe, including Jimmy Conlin as drunk gambler Wormy. The fact that audiences of the time rejected it shouldn't have any impact on people with unjaded eyes viewing it today.

Look for the 90 minute version, by the way.

I'd give Harold Diddlebock a 7 out of 10. It's worth a look if you're a fan of either Lloyd or Sturges.

41 of 42 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 33 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Free Movies and TV Shows You Can Watch Now

On IMDb TV, you can catch Hollywood hits and popular TV series at no cost. Select any poster below to play the movie, totally free!

Browse free movies and TV series

Stream Popular Action and Adventure Titles With Prime Video

Explore popular action and adventure titles available to stream with Prime Video.

Start your free trial

Recently Viewed