REVIEW: ‘Safety Last!’ (1923)

Safety Last!Title: ‘Safety Last!’
1923, USA
Director: Fred C. Newmeyer & Sam Taylor
Cast: Harold Lloyd, Mildred Davis

A poor store clerk organizes a publicity stunt that should earn him the money to finally marry the girl of his dreams. But when the day comes for his friend Bill to climb a 12-stories building in front of a huge crowd, things don’t go as planned, and the man is forced to carry out the stunt himself.

This is the second silent movie I have ever watched. And I really enjoyed it. ‘Safety Last!’ is a delightful and entertaining comedy relying entirely on the fantastic comedic talents of its protagonist, Harold Lloyd. It’s astonishing how a film produced in 1923 can still be so fresh and basically unaffected in its creativity by the passing of time. The different set of acting skills that were required to convey emotions with absolutely no words whatsoever makes for a fascinating spectacle (in case anyone had doubts that “acting is doing”).

Another element that caught me completely by surprise were the climbing stunts performed by Mr. Lloyd. Once again, we are talking about a 1923’s movie, but the climb looks as scarily realistic as it gets!

If I were to point out a flaw, it’d be the occasional racism in the portrayal of minorities like black people and Jews. But I guess that – unfortunately – it must have been an integral part of the societal culture of those times.

I had a good time with ‘Safety Last!’, and I’ll definitely be checking out more films like it!

★★★★☆

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4 comments

  1. I’m glad you liked it. I find at marvel sometimes about how movies that old were made in a way that I just don’t do with more recent movies.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, I can understand how the introduction of sound was a big shock for the people involved in the film industry. It completely changed the game for all professionals, particularly for actors.

      Like

  2. Harold Lloyd is a marvel, isn’t he? I still can barely watch the scene with the clock! It looks so realistic.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. He truly is. I’m afraid of heights, and watching the entire climbing sequence gave me the chills.

      Liked by 1 person

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