Register  |   Log In  |  
Sign up to our weekly newsletter    
Search   
Empire Magazine and iPad
Follow Me on Pinterest YouTube Tumblr
Empire
Trending On Empire
The Future Of Film
The 100 Greatest Video Games
Robin Williams: The Big Interview
Kevin Feige:
My Movie Life

The Marvel supremo's pick of the flicks
Want To Be An Empire Journalist?
Find out how here
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
Violette
4 Star Empire Rating
Draft Day
3 Star Empire Rating
Dolphin Tale 2
3 Star Empire Rating
Filmed In Supermarionation
4 Star Empire Rating
Luna
2 Star Empire Rating



5 STAR REVIEWS
Tony Benn: Will And Testament
5 Star Empire Rating
Nightcrawler
5 Star Empire Rating
Babadook, The
5 Star Empire Rating
Cabinet Of Dr. Caligari, The
5 Star Empire Rating
Two Days, One Night
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.

SPECIAL FEATURE
The 301 Greatest Movies Of All Time EMPIRE READERS' POLL: THE 301 GREATEST MOVIES OF ALL TIME
You turned out in your hundreds and thousands, and here are the results... Browse the full list


CURRENT HIGHLIGHTS
The Hateful Eight - The Story So Far
We delve into the short but tangled history of Quentin Tarantino’s latest

Gallery: Unseen Star Wars Poster Concept Artwork
JW Rinzler takes us through a history of the franchise in jaw-dropping art

The Future Of Film: Lasers Will Save 3D (If Your Cinema Is Big Enough)
Big will be beautiful in the brave new world of frickin' laser beam projection

The Bond Girls Who Made It Big
The actresses who overcame the curse of 007 to forge successful careers

The Future Of Film: A Woman Will Direct Star Wars
No longer a men’s club, Hollywood is going to start opening its doors...

The Empire Podcast #130: Interviews With Rosamund Pike, Lee Child And Antoine Fuqua
The Gone Girl star, Jack Reacher author and The Equalizer director pop in for a chat

The 50 Greatest Voice Performances In Movies
Who has the most talented tonsils in town?

Subscribe to Empire magazine
Get 6 Issues Of Empire For Only £15!

Get exclusive subscriber-only covers each month!

Subscribe today

Subscribe to Empire iPad edition
Get The Empire iPad Edition Today

Subscribe and save maney on annual digital subscription

Subscribe today
Buy single issues

Get 6 issues of Empire for just £15!
Get the world's greatest movie magazine delivered straight to your door! Subscribe today!
Empire's Film Studies 101 Series
Everything you ever wanted to know about filmmaking but were afraid to ask...
The Empire iPad Edition
With exclusive extras, interactive features, trailers and much more! Download now
Home  |  News  |  Blogs  |  Reviews  |  Future Films  |  Features  |  Interviews  |  Images  |  Competitions  |  Forum  |  iPad  |  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)