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...

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 »

Bach to Bach

In The Last Mohican, Paul Leaf directed Alan Arkin in a sketch written by Arkin. Here former comedy team of Mike Nichols (director of Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? and The Graduate) and Elaine May ... More »

Skyscraper

A lyrical narration about the changing city of New York which centres around the erection of a skyscraper. A case history of this singularly American architectural form, it highlights the story of ... 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 »

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 »

Special Report

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

Select a festival
Search The Film Archive
Browse By Director