directors Fred C. Newmeyer, Sam Taylor
Safety Last! is Harold Llloyd’s most famous film, which features one of cinema’s most iconic images, Lloyd dangling from the clock face of the International Savings & Exchange Bank Building (in the film, the 12-story Bolton Building).
If you hadn’t seen the image, well, now you have.
My guess is that the average person even seeing the image may not even know that it’s Harold Lloyd hanging there. But this iconic image has been oft referenced in film and other media.
My relationship with the film is as idiosyncratic as any of my lifelong relationship with cinema. For whatever reason, the local Gainesville, FL PBS channel would run Safety Last! from time to time. And my parents both really liked the movie so I wound up seeing it of all of silent film more often and regularly than any other.
Frankly, as a kid, I found the whole beginning of the film prior to his climb a bit more boring. It’s not. In fact there are some really funny bits in particular in the store that Lloyd works, particularly during a feeding frenzy sale that goes on. But the film is known for his acrobatic climb up the building and the gags therein. And as it was presented on TV way back when, really touted the fact that he not only did his own stunts but did so without a net (not sure if that is true now).
I shared the film with the kids. It was actually one that I’d wanted to see with them for a long time. For a long time, though, Netflix didn’t have it, of all of Lloyd’s , films, available on DVD. Now that we’re in the streaming age, Hulu Plus offered it up. The kids were duly impressed, and even liking the gag in which he tricks the whole crowd in the store to look for a missing $50 bill so that he can hand an old woman her purchase, perhaps, than the most classic of classic scenes.
We’d only watched two other Lloyd films in our screenings over the years, The Freshman (1925) and The Kid Brother (1927) and the kids don’t remember those two all that well. I’m guessing that they’ll know who Harold Lloyd is now.