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Safety Last! (1923)

Not Rated | | Comedy, Thriller | 1 April 1923 (USA)
When a store clerk organizes a publicity stunt, in which a friend climbs the outside of a tall building, circumstances force him to make the perilous climb himself.

Directors:

(as Fred Neymeyer),

Writers:

(story), (story) | 2 more credits »
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1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
Bill Strother ...
Bill, The Pal
Noah Young ...
The Law
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 | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Comedy | Thriller

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

1 April 1923 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Monte là-dessus!  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film is included on Roger Ebert's "Great Movies" list. See more »

Goofs

The prop anemometer at the top of the building is composed of spheres, instead of the half-spheres of a true anemometer. 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 »

Connections

References Cops (1922) 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 (Los Angeles, California) – See 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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Message Boards

Recent Posts
My palms were sweating Hefferik90
Would you climb the building for $6985.77? landrynumbertwo
Opening shot Phantomg6
Where can I get a copy of the DVD for 'Saftely Last'? CinemaFanMan
Continuity k_langton-1
Saw this last night simon-oliver-2
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