Monday, May 2, 2016

Safety Last! (1923)

A young man (Harold Lloyd) goes to the big city to become successful enough to marry his sweetheart. Things don't go as planned, but he tries to keep up appearances. Then become complicated when sweetheart travels to the city to visits him at work. So, he climbs the building to make some extra cash. You know the scene where he hangs from a clock face. It's real famous.

As a kid I was told Lloyd actually performed these stunts on the building, with eight fingers (two were blown off a few years earlier), without a stuntman. Well, turns out, not so much. A stunt man was used, and Lloyd wasn't nearly as far off the ground as it seemed. The bricks were modified to give him a solid grip. The stunt man didn't spill the beans until Lloyd died. Also, he didn't want to diminish the real danger of the stunts.

Lloyd would marry his almost 22 year old co-star two months before the film's April fools day release. He discouraged her from continuing her career shortly thereafter.

Safety Last! has some fairly clever visual gags and the wall climbing in the third act holds your interest, however the film is sometimes tedious despite the 70 minute run time. This is one of about a billion silent comedies Hal Roach has his name on. He is credited as "Presenter" and writer, and uncredited as producer.

Paper-thin story, tired comedy mixed in with some better bits, capped off by cool stunts in the third act, and you have a very watchable film. AMRU 3.

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