Skip to main content

SAFETY LAST

USA, 1923 (MIFF 1957, Programme 4)

Director: Fred Newmayer, Sam Taylor

Harold Lloyd was one of the most important comedians of the silent period and in Safely Last he embodies his own principles of screen comedy. It was his ambition to make a thrill picture and the formulae for such a film he defined as "a scream, a laugh and a scream".

Safety Last has the conventional Harold Lloyd plot - young man from hick-town goes to big city, makes good, marries girl from hick-town - but is distinguished from his other films by a brilliant, uniquely sustained slapstick sequence lasting some twenty-five minutes and leading to the film's climax. Involved through a case of mistaken identity into climbing a skyscraper for a publicity stunt, Lloyd meets the most terrifying of slap-slick adventures; this passage is, perhaps, the most frequently anthologised piece of screen comedy.

See also...

Fire Mountain

The course of a volcanic eruption is shown from beginning to end: the rarely seen termination of volcanic activity is included. Devastation and beauty are the aftermath. ... Silver Osella for ... More »

Introduction to Jazz

An impressionistic film treatment of American jazz history. A narrative in blank verse and a musical score consisting of original recordings by jazz composers and performers together with an ... More »

Memento

A conversation before an accident , intercut with safety warnings, accompanies shots of wrecked cars and views of impending accidents from behind the wheel. A strong case for careful driving. ... More »

Wet and Wild

The camera catches the colossal power of the giant waves as a board rider catches one on his perilous journey. ... More »

Special Report

A scathing satire of the news coverage of the murder of a topless go-go dancer, Candy Parabola. ... More »

N.Y., N.Y.

In this strange and beautiful film we see the city of New York as it appears when photographed through multiplying prisms, or reflected in mirrors The pictorial devices are used to make its ... More »

Select a festival
Search The Film Archive
Browse By Director