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Safety Last! (1923)

Not Rated | | Action, Comedy, Thriller | 1 April 1923 (USA)
A store clerk organizes a publicity stunt in which a friend climbs the outside of a tall building.

Directors:

Fred C. Newmeyer (as Fred Neymeyer), Sam Taylor

Writers:

Hal Roach (story), Sam Taylor (story) | 2 more credits »
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1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Harold Lloyd ... Harold - The Boy
Mildred Davis ... Mildred, The Girl
Bill Strother Bill Strother ... Bill, The Pal
Noah Young Noah Young ... The Law
Westcott Clarke Westcott Clarke ... The Floorwalker (as Westcott B. Clarke)
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Storyline

In 1922, the country boy Harold says goodbye to his mother and his girlfriend Mildred in the train station and leaves Great Bend expecting to be successful in the big city. Harold promises to Mildred to get married with her as soon as he "make good". Harold shares a room with his friend "Limpy" Bill and he finally gets a job as salesman in the De Vore Department Store. However, he pawns Bill's phonograph, buys a lavaliere and writes to Mildred telling that he is a manager of De Vore. One day, Harold sees an old friend from Great Bend that is a policeman and when he meets his friend Bill, he asks Bill to push the policeman over him and make him fall down. However Bill pushes the wrong policeman that chases him, but he escapes climbing up a building. Out of the blue, Mildred is convinced by her mother to visit Harold without previous notice and he pretends to be the manager of De Vore. When Harold overhears the general manager telling that he would give one thousand dollars to to anyone... Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

You're Going to Explode With "Safety Laughs" when You see This Fun Bomb. (Print Ad- Buffalo Courier, ((Buffalo NY)) 30 September 1923)


Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

1 April 1923 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

El hombre mosca See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$121,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$623,809
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Hal Roach Studios See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Silent

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In 1919 Harold Lloyd was handed what he thought was a prop bomb, which he lit with his cigarette. It turned out to be real and exploded, blowing off Lloyd's right thumb and index finger, and putting him in the hospital for months. When he recovered, he went back to making movies, wearing a white glove while on screen to hide his damaged right hand. He did his stunts in this film and Feet First (1930), dangling from ledges, clocks and windows, using only eight fingers. See more »

Goofs

After the Boy sends the Girl off in the car, the ladder has inexplicably moved further to the right. See more »

Quotes

Bill, The Pal: Say, for five hundred dollars I'd climb to Heaven, an' hang by my heels from the pearly gates.
See more »

Alternate Versions

In 1990, The Harold Lloyd Trust and Photoplay Productions presented a 73-minute version of this film in association with Thames Television International, with a musical score written by Carl Davis. The addition of modern credits stretched the time to 74 minutes. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Los pornoaficionados (1982) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Harold's ultimate thrill feature...his memorable 'clock-dangling' sequence shows comedy time-ing at its very best!
8 June 2001 | by gbrumburghSee all my reviews

Wiry, athletic, bespectacled Harold Lloyd may rank third after Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton in "silent age" comedy polls, but when it comes to perilous, pulse-racing, gravity-defying stuntwork, he's the "King of the World!"

The aptly-titled "Safety Last" is without a doubt Lloyd's signature film. The indelible still taken of Harold dangling from the minute-hand of that Big Ben-looking clock is definitive silent screen imagery. A shame too for it is only one classic moment from a tireless legacy of work that is too often overlooked.

Isn't it amazing that despite knowing the outcome of this movie, knowing that Lloyd survived all these crazy stunts, your heart still skips a beat every time he scales that 12-story building, floor by floor, encountering every obstacle imaginable...or unimaginable? Those pesky pigeons, the mouse, the flagpole, the painters, the rope, the mad dog and, of course, the clock. What adds to the intrigue is knowing he did his own stunts, that he had lost fingers prior to this filming in another movie mishap, that there were no safety nets underneath, and that there was no trick photography used. I say Harold deserves a more prominent place in movie history, suffering for his art as no other artist has.

The plot leading up to his daredevil antics is fairly pat but sprayed throughout with inventive sight gags. Harold plays your simple, hapless, small-town 'everyman' who goes to the BIG city to seek fame and fortune, leaving his true love (played by Mildred Davis, his real-life wife) at home until he's makes it. Fresh off the bus, he eventually manages to scrape up a job as a clerk in a department store, a job that takes him nowhere fast. To save face, he keeps sending expensive trinkets back home that indicate otherwise. Convinced that he has indeed made it, she heads off to the BIG city to join him, much to his chagrin. Desperate to earn quick cash before she discovers the truth, he takes his boss up on an offer and works up a publicity ruse to drum up sales for the store.

The rest is classic Lloyd. Wearing his trademark straw hat and horn-rimmed glasses, the meek mouse suddenly turns into Mighty Mouse as our boy, through a series of mishaps, literally moves up in the world, scaling heights even he never dreamed of!

All's well, of course, that ends well, as we've been saying for centuries. Sure, we know how things ended back in the good ol' days, but isn't it great to know that when Harold got the girl, he STAYED with the girl? In real life, Harold and Mildred remained sweethearts for over 45 years.

Highly recommended for those who want to see more of this genius's amazing work is "Kid Brother" and "The Freshman." For me, this guy still provides one heck of an "E" ticket rollercoaster ride.


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