Register  |   Log In  |  
Sign up to our weekly newsletter    
Search   
Empire Magazine and iPad
Follow Me on Pinterest YouTube Tumblr Viber
Empire
Trending On Empire
The Big 2015 Movie Preview
The 50 Best Films Of 2014
Review Of The Year 2014
100 Greatest Characters
Your all-time favourite heroes and villains
Subscribe To Empire
Sign up now and save 44%
Reviews
STAR RATINGS EXPLAINED
Unmissable 5 Stars
Excellent 4 Stars
Good 3 Stars
Poor 2 Stars
Tragic 1 Star

FILM DETAILS
Certificate
U
Cast
Harold Lloyd
Mildred Davis
Bill Strother
Noah Young.
Directors
Fred C Newmeyer
Sam Taylor.
Screenwriters
Sam Taylor
Hal Roach
HH Walker
Tim Whelan.
Running Time
77 minutes

LATEST FILM REVIEWS
Vacation
2 Star Empire Rating
Strange Magic
2 Star Empire Rating
Looking For Love
3 Star Empire Rating
Pressure
3 Star Empire Rating
Misery Loves Comedy
3 Star Empire Rating



5 STAR REVIEWS
Man With A Movie Camera
5 Star Empire Rating
Salt Of The Earth, The
5 Star Empire Rating
Song Of The Sea
5 Star Empire Rating
Look Of Silence, The
5 Star Empire Rating
Mad Max: Fury Road
5 Star Empire Rating

Safety Last!


submit to reddit


Plot
Keen to impress his girl, a country boy feigns success at a big city department store. However, when she pays him an unexpected visit, he finds himself having to undertake a high-rise stunt in place of his pal, Limpy Bill, who is being pursued by the police after a harmless jape backfires.


Review

Harold Lloyd was inspired to make the fourth of his five thrill pictures after witnessing a crowd's reaction to Human Spider Bill Strother's attempt to scale a building in downtown Los Angeles. However, the action was as much rooted in an innocuous deception as the storyline itself.

    The final quarter of Safety Last was devoted to the celebrated stunt. But Lloyd also invested considerable care in the character comedy that made the climax so gripping. As ever, he played a brash, resourceful go-getter whose personality reflected the `can do' attitude of the Jazz Age. However, Lloyd remains very much a country boy here and it's love and friendship rather than social or economic aggrandisement that prompts him to take on the ascent after Limpy Bill is distracted by the cops.

    The case of mistaken identity that necessitates Lloyd's heroism was something of a contrivance. But none more so than the plethora of obstacles that made the climb so difficult. Pigeons, ropes, a mouse, a swinging window, a net, a flagpole, a weather vane, a painters' platform, a flash gun and a clock face all conspire to hinder Lloyd's progress and each incident inspires amused apprehension rather than the guffaws usually elicited by such silent pratfalls.

    Lloyd always insisted that he performed his daredevil pantomime at the heights seen on the screen and so he did. But it was Bill Strother who appeared in the long shots, while Lloyd did the medium and close-up work on reconstructions that were precisely positioned on rooftops commensurate with the different stages of the climb. It was still a perilous enterprise, but Lloyd always had mattresses some 20 feet below him.

    However, the authenticity of the stunt is largely immaterial. The illusion was all that mattered and directors Fred Newmeyer and Sam Taylor, along with their four cameramen, made supremely inventive (not to say ingenious) use of angle and space to pull this off spectacularly. Contemporary audiences were undeniably impressed and a feature that cost $120,963 raked in $1,588,545.


Verdict
Harold Lloyd manages to make the characters sympathetic enough to carry the audience's concern on his journey of crazy stunts and mishaps. One of the best of this era.


Reviewed by David Parkinson

Write Your Review
To write your review please login or register.


CURRENT HIGHLIGHTS
Black Mass Trailer Breakdown With Director Scott Cooper
Find out what's what with Johnny Depp's take on Boston Gangster Whitey Bulger

The N.W.A-Team
Empire visits the set of Straight Outta Compton

Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation
Read Empire's official verdict

Empire Meets Joely Richardson
On Maggie, Arnie and Event Horizon

100 Greatest Movie Characters
The complete list of your all-time favourite heroes and villains

Vote Now For Your Favourite TV Shows
Pick your top five - if you can...

Paul Rudd Is Awesome
Being awesome: from Clueless to Ant-Man

Subscribe to Empire magazine
Empire print magazine

Delivered to your door – with exclusive subscriber only covers each month!

Subscribe now!

Subscribe to Empire iPad edition
Empire digital magazine

Exclusive and enhanced content – get instant access via your iPad or Android device

Subscribe now!

Subscribe now and save up to 67%
Print, Digital & Package options available Subscribe today!
Empire's Film Studies 101 Series
Everything you ever wanted to know about filmmaking but were afraid to ask...
The Empire Digital Edition
With exclusive extras, interactive features, trailers and much more! Download now
Home  |  News  |  Blogs  |  Reviews  |  Future Films  |  Features  |  Interviews  |  Images  |  Competitions  |  Forum  |  Digital Edition  |  Podcast  |  Magazine Contact Us  |  Empire FAQ  |  Subscribe To Empire  |  Register
© Bauer Consumer Media Ltd  |  Legal Info  |  Editorial Complaints  |  Privacy Policy  |  Bauer Entertainment Network
Bauer Consumer Media Ltd (company number 01176085 and registered address 1 Lincoln Court, Lincoln Road, Peterborough, England PE1 2RF)