Ambitious shoe salesman, Harold, unknowingly meets the boss' daughter and tells her he is a leather tycoon. The rest of the film he spends hiding his true circumstances, in the store and ... See full summary »
Ambitious shoe salesman, Harold, unknowingly meets the boss' daughter and tells her he is a leather tycoon. The rest of the film he spends hiding his true circumstances, in the store and later on a ship. Trying to deliver a letter, he later finds himself dangling high above the street on a building's scaffolding. Written by
Herman Seifer <email@example.com>
The float plane shown picking up the mail is a 1926 Savoia. Savoia-Marchetti, American Aero: American Aeronautical Co, Port Washington NY. Savoia planes were more often called American Marchetti to disguise their Italian origin of design although they were built in the US under license. It was equipped with a 90hp Kinner K-5. Wing span: 34'1" Length: 25'0" Load: 699 lbs. v: 86/75/40 range: 290 miles/ceiling: 7000'. Cost: $7,375 with starter and navigation lights. NC378N was one of only 25 built in this configuration. See more »
I first saw the finale of this film in the compilation, HAROLD LLOYD'S WORLD OF COMEDY, in 1962, in a jam-packed 800-seat theatre. The audience roared and ROARED with laughter and excitement. It was the funniest, most thrilling thing I had ever seen in movies (I was 21) and I never forgot it.
What surprised me when I finally saw the whole of FEET FIRST recently, after seeing nearly all of Lloyd's silents (including SAFETY LAST) in the intervening period, is not only how well the final building-climbing sequence still holds up, but how inventive and funny the entire film is. There's a long sequence of Harold as a shoe salesman that's as hilarious and creative as anything in his silents, and there are just no dull spots at all.
The final long sequence on the side of a building is in NO WAY just a rehash of the SAFETY LAST sequence. I doubt if there's a single gag in it that repeats anything in the earlier film. It's every bit as imaginative and hair-raising as SAFETY LAST, a real tour de force. The bumbling Willie Best is a bothersome racial caricature, certainly, yet in terms of comedy, his "unflappable" casual unconcern is a perfect foil for Lloyd's kinetic, action-filled, dangerous gags, and he has one of the funniest lines in the picture.
Keaton and Laurel & Hardy (in their features) lost creative control of their work in the sound era, Langdon never made a starring-vehicle sound film, and Chaplin didn't make a talking film until 1940. Lloyd's sound films were not so successful at the box office, and a reasonable assumption would be that they, too, lacked whatever mysterious element had made the silent comedians great. In the case of Lloyd, at least as regards to his three pre-Code era films designed for sound, this is dead wrong! FEET FIRST, MOVIE CRAZY, and THE CAT'S PAW are all top-notch comedies (and his three films that came after them aren't bad either).
As with all of Lloyd, this is best seen with an audience, but even on TV it's a funny, funny film.
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