Previously Played

SAFETY LAST

  • 3:10
  • 7:20

$7 Member   $12.50 Regular

90th ANNIVERSARY

Starring HAROLD LLOYD

MUSICAL SCORE WRITTEN AND CONDUCTED BY CARL DAVIS

(1923) Needing dough to marry hometown sweetheart Mildred Davis (she became the real-life Mrs. Lloyd that same year), lowly salesclerk Harold Lloyd cooks up a million dollar “human fly” publicity stunt for his department store. But things go sour when, with the real climber on the lam from a cop, Harold gets stuck climbing the building himself. Shot without trick photography on rooftop sets looming over a real downtown Los Angeles, the death-defying climb up the skyscraper — interrupted by Lloyd’s über-iconic encounter with a huge clock — is, nine decades on, still one of the funniest and most suspenseful sequences in movie history, but only the topper to a succession of priceless gags.  Approx. 70 min. DCP.

A JANUS FILMS RELEASE

REVIEWS

top

"NEEDS TO BE SEEN ON A BIG SCREEN WITH A FULL HOUSE TO BE FULLY APPRECIATED! Lloyd was no YouTube comic, but a master of timing who calibrated each shot to the laughter and gasps of a large public, building crescendos as surely as any great composer."
– Dave Kehr, The New York Times

“TO SEE IT TODAY WITH AN AUDIENCE ALTERNATELY ROARING WITH LAUGHTER AND GASPING IS ONE OF THE GREATEST EXPERIENCES OF CINEMA.”
– David Shipman

"The most famous image of silent comedy—Harold Lloyd hanging from the hands of a clock, 12 stories above the streets of Los Angeles—represents only one of the great moments in what could be the most brilliantly sustained comic climax in film history (1923). A marvel, and there's more in the fine character work that leads Lloyd up to the big moment. The other great silent comics defined their own worlds; Lloyd lives dangerously in ours."
– Dave Kehr

"When the face of that clock collapses outward, the effect on audiences is galvanic. The shock produced by a mixture of laughter and fear has never been equalled in any thrill film. With Safety Last, Harold Lloyd became the undisputed master of daredevil comedy."
– Tom Dardis, Harold Lloyd: The Man on the Clock

"Lloyd's greatest thrill picture, and perhaps his greatest all around movie!"
– William Cahn, Harold Lloyd's World of Comedy

"Safety Last is [Lloyd's] crowning achievement and his most formidable metaphor, a model of comic economy that's also a comic model of one man's place in the economy. Near the top [of the climb], Lloyd dangles from the building's giant clock, shaking hands with the hands of time—appropriately, his most enduring moment. Safety Last is a dizzying literalization of social climbing and a fine illustration of what might happen if a mouse were to crawl up your pant leg. This is a foundational film that will make you sweat."
– The Village Voice

“Demonstrates Lloyd’s ability to do more than milk a gag, but to top it... As he approaches the end of his horrible hegira up the side of the building, it becomes clear to the audience, but not to him, that if he raises his head another couple of inches, he’s going to get murderously conked by one of the four arms of a revolving wind gauge. He delays the evil moment almost interminably with one distraction or another, and every delay is a suspense-tightening laugh... Each new floor is like a new stanza in a poem; and the higher and more horrifying it gets, the funnier it gets.”
– James Agee, Comedy’s Greatest Era

Trailer

top