Safety Last!

16 05 2010

Harold Lloyd is a somewhat forgotten star of comedies from the silent era. While Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton are still namechecked regularly, Lloyd is passed over more often than not.

Yet one of the most enduring images from the first few decades of cinema is undoubtedly the shot of Lloyd hanging from a large clock-face as he dangles several stories above street-level. Taken from his 1923 comedy Safety Last!, this scene is familiar to almost everyone, no matter their familiarity with Lloyd or the film itself.

The bulk of the film is entertaining though hardly noteworthy: the story of the boy trying to impress his girl by pretending to be higher up in the business world food-chain isn’t exactly revolutionary, even for 1923. But it’s all just a set-up for the climax, where Lloyd scales a building with no visible safety precautions.
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