Note: This twentieth entry in the superlative Allan Fish Bonanza Encore series was chosen by Marilyn Ferdinand, who was fully cognizant of Allan’s particular affinity for silent cinema. This is again a case of a great review for a great and iconic film.
by Allan Fish
(USA 1923 70m) DVD1/2
I’ll be back as soon as I ditch the cop
p Harold Lloyd d Sam Taylor, Fred Newmeyer w Harold Lloyd, Tim Whelan, Sam Taylor, Hal Roach ph Walter Lundin ed Thomas J.Crizer m Carl Davis art Fred Guiol
Harold Lloyd (Harold), Mildred Davis (Mildred), Noah Young (the cop), Bill Strothers (Limpy Bill), Westcott B.Clarke (Stubbs, the floorwalker),
Safety Last is one of those movies cherished in the memory long before you actually see the full film. My first glimpses of it were probably exactly the same as many other people’s in the UK, courtesy of a half hour teatime show on BBC2 showcasing Lloyd’s comedy, with an inimitable nine note theme tune unforgettable to those who heard it. Of course that glimpse was only an edited version of Last and, indeed, of its most famous sequence, but it was enough for me. I would only have been about ten years old, but to a childhood friend and I, it was pure bliss. Even now, over twenty years later, though I reaffirm that fact that The Kid Brother is Lloyd’s best feature, there is nothing on his CV to match Last. It’s one to cherish.
Harold is a country boy from Great Bend who goes to the city to make his fortune so he can send for his beloved Mildred. “She’s just got to believe I’m successful until I am” he tells new found friend Bill, and he spends every cent he has on buying her pretty trinkets and doing without such comparative expendables as food. His life made into a living hell by a supercilious floorwalker at the store where he works (a man “muscle-bound from patting himself on the back” the caption reads), he cooks up a publicity stunt (in more ways than one) to have his expert climber friend Bill climb the building where his place of work, the De Vore department store, is situated. Unfortunately a hostile cop has his eye on Bill after an earlier encounter and Harold has to undertake the climb himself. Continue Reading »