Social Icons

06 September 2011

Safety Last (1923)

Directed by: Fred C. Newmeyer , Sam Taylor
Genre: Comedy
Runtime: 80 Minutes
Often known as Harold Lloyd’s best film, it is the first film I have seen from this great comedian. His physical ability (let alone being quite athletic) definitely brings laughter to the screen in this well executed piece of silent comedy. The story is simple, the characters are sweet and the comedy is very funny. This has some of the finest slapstick you could ask for, which makes Lloyd a contender as one of the best comedians of this time.

The story is simple. We meet a young couple, the boy (Lloyd) and the girl (Mildred Davis), and the boy leaves his little sweetheart to visit the big city of Great Bend where he pursues his fortune in a teeming metropolis. The Boy lands a job as a clerk at a fabric counter of DeVore's, a huge department store, but he lies in his letters home to his beloved, pretending to be the store's manager and spending his earnings on lavish gifts. 

The Boy's roommate, The Pal (Bill Strother) makes money as a "human fly," performing attention-getting stunts. Promised $1,000 by DeVore's real manager if he can devise a publicity gimmick, The Boy convinces his friend to climb the 12-story establishment and split the winnings with him. On the day of the event, however, The Pal is busy dodging The Law (Noah Young), forcing The Boy to make the arduous climb solo. 

During his climb as he dodges several obstacles, we get to the clock in the film’s most memorable image, an image I had seen well before watching this film. The insanity and danger of his climbing contributes to the comedy thrill, especially when he is dangling from somewhat 10 stories from a clock. On his climbing venture, he encounters pesky flapping pigeons, a net, a flagpole and even a vicious dog; obviously, a scene that makes people remember this film.

The slapstick humour here is a dying ( or dead) form that not as many people are interested in, such as the classic gags of social commentary and foolish actions. However, this kind of comedy I feel is timeless, just like Chaplin’s work and even Laurel and Hardy. It is not something that is funny now and not funny in a week’s time, it is funny and stays funny. I loved the comedy here because of how clever, zany and wacky it is. In one scene, we have a woman wanting to have a look at some fabric, where he ends up showing her everything on the shelves only to find she liked the first one he showed her. To double that hilarious happening is she only wanted a sample. That is among many of the hilarious gags written in this film and gracefully executed by Lloyd.

Harold Lloyd is silent cinemas acclaimed “third genius” and as this being, the first Lloyd film I have seen, I can see why.  This is an important film in some ways because of its comedic influence. Next to the obvious Keaton and Chaplin, he is one of the greats as I said, and there will be more greats to come. The film overall is graciously funny.


Although he did not write or direct this film, he certainly does an amazing job in creating comedy mayhem with his athletic climbing and crawling around. Of course, another thing you remember him for is the iconic look with his round glasses and straw hat. This silent film is one of the many that give the era good name, especially to comedy.

My Rating: 9/10
 


3 comments:

  1. great review as always FMT

    ReplyDelete
  2. I completely agree on how great this film is. Lloyd easily stands with both Chaplin and Keaton and I have read that he was actually the most popular of the three back in the 1920s.

    What makes the climbing scene even greater is that we know that it is really Lloyd on the side of the building. We are close enough to see his face and know It's not a stunt man (except in one far shot.) That's really traffic driving by in the background. It's not CGI and there are no safety harnesses attached to Lloyd that were removed by computer. Making it even more incredible, Lloyd was missing a couple of fingers from one of his hands as a result of an accident with a prop a few years before.

    If you are searching for your next Lloyd film to see, watch The Freshman.

    ReplyDelete
  3. your totally right there and I heard of that incident. I learnt that recently and he is quite impressive. i will check that one next, thanks for reading!

    ReplyDelete

 

All Labels

1915 (1) 1919 (1) 1921 (3) 1922 (6) 1923 (3) 1924 (3) 1925 (3) 1927 (5) 1928 (3) 1929 (1) 1931 (3) 1932 (1) 1933 (2) 1935 (1) 1939 (1) 1941 (1) 1942 (2) 1945 (1) 1947 (1) 1948 (2) 1950 (1) 1951 (1) 1952 (1) 1953 (2) 1954 (2) 1956 (1) 1958 (2) 1959 (1) 1960 (2) 1961 (2) 1964 (1) 1965 (1) 1968 (1) 1969 (2) 1970 (2) 1971 (6) 1972 (5) 1973 (3) 1974 (3) 1975 (5) 1976 (4) 1977 (1) 1978 (2) 1979 (3) 1980 (1) 1981 (2) 1982 (3) 1984 (2) 1985 (2) 1986 (4) 1987 (3) 1988 (3) 1989 (2) 1990 (2) 1991 (6) 1992 (3) 1993 (2) 1994 (6) 1995 (1) 1996 (1) 1997 (1) 1998 (2) 2000 (2) 2001 (1) 2002 (3) 2003 (4) 2004 (1) 2005 (3) 2006 (7) 2007 (7) 2008 (3) 2009 (11) 2010 (10) 2011 (44) 2011 FilmMaster Award Nominees (1) 2011 FilmMaster Award Results (1) 2012 (12) 25 Greatest Silent Films (1) 50 Favourite Films (1) 70's Movie Marathon (15) 84th Academy Awards Predictions (1) Action and Adventure (45) Actor Overviews (3) Animation (17) Art House (17) Biographical (4) Blogger of the month (4) Blogger Round-Up (3) Comedy (87) Crime (8) Direcotrs: Rainer Fassbender (1) Director Overviews (2) Directors: Jonathan Demme (1) Directors: Adam Elliot (1) Directors: Alan Parker (1) Directors: Alexander Payne (1) Directors: Alexandre Aja (1) Directors: Alfonzo Cuaron (1) Directors: Alfred Hitchcock (11) Directors: Andre Ovredal (1) Directors: Andrei Tarkovsky (1) Directors: Andrew Stanton (2) Directors: Bob Fosse (4) Directors: Buster Keaton (4) Directors: Carl Dreyer (1) Directors: Charles Chaplin (14) Directors: Charles Walters (1) Directors: Chris Colombus (2) Directors: Christopher Nolan (3) Directors: D.W Griffith (1) Directors: Danny Boyle (1) Directors: Darren Aronofsky (1) Directors: David Cronenberg (2) Directors: David Fincher (2) Directors: David Lynch (1) Directors: David Yates (4) Directors: Don Siegel (1) Directors: F.W Murnau (4) Directors: Fernando Meirelles (1) Directors: Francis Ford Coppola (1) Directors: Frank Oz (2) Directors: Fred M. Wilcox (1) Directors: Gene Kelly (4) Directors: George Cukor (3) Directors: George Lucas (1) Directors: George Mêliés (3) Directors: Gore Verbinski (4) Directors: Henry Selick (3) Directors: Howard Hawks (1) Directors: J.J Abrams (1) Directors: James Whale (3) Directors: Jim Sharman (1) Directors: Joe Dante (1) Directors: Joe Johnston (1) Directors: John Avildsen (1) Directors: John Carpenter (1) Directors: John Hillcoat (1) Directors: John Lasseter (1) Directors: John M. Stahl (1) Directors: John Waters (2) Directors: Johny Huston (1) Directors: Joss Whedon (1) Directors: Katsuhiro Otomo (1) Directors: Luis Buñuel (1) Directors: Mark Sendrich (2) Directors: Martin Scorsese (2) Directors: Michael Caton-Jones (2) Directors: Oliver Stone (1) Directors: Pete Doctor (1) Directors: Peter Jackson (2) Directors: Pier Paolo Pasolini (1) Directors: Raja Gosnell (1) Directors: Ralph Bakshi (1) Directors: Richard Schikel (1) Directors: Ridley Scott (3) Directors: Rob Letterman (1) Directors: Rob Marshall (2) Directors: Robert Weine (1) Directors: Robert Wise (4) Directors: Robert Zemeckis (1) Directors: Roger Corman (3) Directors: Russ Meyer (1) Directors: Sam Peckinpah (2) Directors: Sam Raimi (3) Directors: Seth Gordon (1) Directors: Stanley Kubrick (4) Directors: Steven Spielberg (4) Directors: Terry Zigoff (1) Directors: Tim Burton (5) Directors: Tom Six (1) Directors: Uwe Boll (1) Directors: Victor Fleming (2) Directors: Werner Herzog (2) Directors: Wes Craven (10) Directors: WIlliam Friedkin (1) Directors: Williard Huyck (1) Directors: Woody Allen (1) Documentary (5) Drama (94) Family (9) Film Master Newsletters (5) Hitchcock Movie Competition (4) Horror (56) Horror Marathon (32) Independent Film (1) Mockumentary (4) Months in Review (5) Musical (24) Musical Film-a-Thon (23) Mystery and Suspense (39) Other Posts (24) Photography (1) Poll Results (10) Quickie Reviews (15) Rating: 1.5/10 (1) Rating: 1/10 (2) Rating: 10/10 (12) Rating: 2.5/10 (1) Rating: 2/10 (2) Rating: 3/10 (6) Rating: 4.5/10 (6) Rating: 4/10 (1) Rating: 5.5/10 (1) Rating: 5/10 (6) Rating: 6.5/10 (10) Rating: 6/10 (1) Rating: 7.5/10 (26) Rating: 7/10 (13) Rating: 8.5/10 (27) Rating: 8/10 (38) Rating: 9.5/10 (12) Rating: 9/10 (39) Reviews (238) Romance (15) Sci-Fi and Fantasy (54) Silent Film Marathon (23) Silent Film Marathon 2 (12) Sport (2) STOP SOPA (1) The 70's in cinema (2) Thoughts on 84th Oscars (1) Thriller (5) Top 15 of 2011 (1) Trailer Round Up (3) War (3) Western (5)
There was an error in this gadget