Whilst many of the films produced during the silent era may now be lost, damaged or forgotten, it was a pivotal period in cinema and established a strong bond between audiences and motion pictures. A variety of genres began to flourish during that time but it’s perhaps the American comedies which still retain the most popularity today. The three biggest stars of that age were Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton and Harold Lloyd. The latter’s most memorable and iconic moment came in Safety Last!
The Boy (Lloyd) is headed for the big city. He has promised his beloved, The Girl (Mildred Davis), that he will ‘make good’ and then she will join him. He manages to get a job as a sales assistant in a department story and shares and apartment with ‘Lumpy’ Bill (Bill Strother). As the weeks go by, ‘The Boy’ writes to her regularly, hiding his lack of success with expensive presents and tall tales. He gets a shock when she suddenly decides to surprise him with a visit.
Whilst there are lots of cute little moments in Safety Last!, it’s the famous clock scene which really steals the show. The amount of planning and skill which goes into executing Lloyd’s set-pieces is truly impressive. Even using a stuntman for certain scenes, the physicality on show is electric. The comedy is also well done, and it’s a really easy film to like. Fred C. Newmeyer and Sam Taylor know precisely who their star is. Safety Last! Is an entertaining and audacious comedy.
- New, restored 2K digital film transfer
- Musical score by composer Carl Davis from 1989, synchronized and restored under his supervision and presented in uncompressed stereo on the Blu-ray edition
- Alternate score by organist Gaylord Carter from the late 1960s, presented in uncompressed monaural on the Blu-ray edition
- Audio commentary featuring film critic Leonard Maltin and director and Harold Lloyd archivist Richard Correll
- Introduction by Suzanne Lloyd, Lloyd’s granddaughter and the president of Harold Lloyd Entertainment
- Harold Lloyd: The Third Genius, a 108-minute documentary from 1989
- Three newly restored Lloyd shorts: Take a Chance (1918), Young Mr. Jazz (1919), and His Royal Slyness (1920), with commentary by Correll and film writer John Bengtson
- Locations and Effects, a new documentary featuring Bengtson and visual-effects expert Craig Barron
- New interview with Davis
- PLUS: A booklet featuring a new essay by critic Ed Park
Safety Last! is released on Blu-ray by Sony Pictures UK as part of the Criterion Collection on 14 September.