SAFETY LAST - Content
For Hicksflicks.com, July 5, 2013
The silent classic "Safety Last" (1923) — playing for a week at the Tower Theater in Salt Lake City starting today — is not Harold Lloyd's best movie. Oh, it's a wonderful picture, and it's certainly Lloyd's most famous, with that startling sequence that has him scaling a downtown Los Angeles high-rise building, which leads to the iconic moment when he is hanging from the hands of a clock as he dangles over traffic far below, certainly one of the most famous scenes in all of silent cinema.
And saying it isn't Lloyd's best doesn't mean it's not a terrifically funny movie. It's just not up there with his greatest cinematic achievements, such as "Why Worry?" and "The Freshman" and "For Heaven's Sake" and "The Kid Brother," all of which come together with near perfection as movies, mixing his trademark hair-raising chases with strong stories, compelling characterizations and universally relatable misadventures.
Harold Lloyd is not as common a household name these days as Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton — and even they aren't as well known among young movie-watchers as they should be. But in his day, Lloyd was a star of equal magnitude. They were the three comic geniuses of the silent era, and it's hard to go wrong with any movies made when they were at their peak.
Which is to say that even not-quite-his-best Lloyd is better than most other comedies, and "Safety Last" is very funny. A classic, any way you slice it.
So go to the Tower and see it. The opportunity to watch "Safety Last" on a theater screen is a rare treat, one you shouldn't pass up. Take your kids; take your parents; take your grandparents. And, if possible, see it Saturday (July 6, 7 p.m.) when it will be accompanied by live organ music, which always adds to the atmosphere of silent films.