Safety Last! - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Safety Last! Reviews

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December 10, 2015
Harold Lloyd is no doubt the third major figure from the silent movie era and in modern times quite often is not mentioned as much as Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton. Lloyd here for me creates something great and something that should also be considered one of the greats in silent cinema, it's fast, it's pretty funny but most of all it's actually really thrilling. The plot see's Lloyd play well Harold Lloyd and he takes it upon himself to take on quite the daring stunt, not that he ever wants to in the story that is. Of course this film is famous for the clock scene but the movie is well made throughout and although can slow down the slightest bit at the beginning, it is still all together good fun.

Now of course any silent movie actor doing many of their own stunts has to be basically an athlete of sorts, and that is what Lloyd is in this. One reason I think it works so well in this movie is because you don't expect the character in the film to do what he does and go through all that happens, the stunts are so well done that it almost feels Lloyd is an amateur (of which of course he most definitely is not) but that makes the character more believable and so hats off to Harold. It doesn't start off really well but it is the start which gives the second half of the movie some structure, it kind of trundles a long as a good and decent film only to be elevated by its fantastic ending, very well worked indeed.

As for other characters well it combines a lot of random people and creates a few well created characters. Mildred Davis as Lloyd's girlfriend is good although the whole story about Lloyd's hometown is a bit pointless really, although the character is not a bad one. There's something about Westcott Clarke that is kind of scary in a way, he plays Mr. Stubbs a floorwalker at Lloyd's work and he is very much a strict one of that. Clarke is dressed with suit and a monocle and it makes him look really kind of creepy in a weird way, lovely idea from whoever thought of it.

You can't talk about this or for that matter many other comedy silent movies without talking about the stunts, I mentioned of course that it has some but in reality it has many, not all actually have to death defying. Little things like sneaking away from Stubbs so he does not see him going the other way or Stubbs would see him, but then the film has big things like when Lloyd has to get to work and of course the outside of the building scenes. The stunt Lloyd does at the end is actually pretty scary to look at because really you don't know in reality how safe he would have been, let alone just in the story he is telling.

So Safety Last is a silent movie that is near excellent and more than matches many of Chaplin's and Keaton's works, I think it is important we remember Lloyd as well as those two because he was just as important and maybe even more popular with audiences back in the day. I think this is one of those silent movies that even people who have never seen one before could enjoy, it's fun but also dangerous and at such a short running time it doesn't drag on or feel boring, it feels fun and of course, thrilling.
½ December 2, 2011
I haven't seen a Harold Lloyd film since I was a kid so it was nice to revisit 30 years later. I think I just took it for granted when, every time we watched one, my Dad pointed out that he did all his own stunts. Now I can appreciate that, particularly in this film in which he is hanging off a high-rise building by his fingertips.
September 21, 2015
Aside from a couple of misguided exercises in stereotypes (a black woman who carries her baby around in a crate, a hand-wringing Jewish shop owner) and its failure to tie up some loose-ends, Safety Last! is a whimsical bit of silent comedy with an iconic climactic scene.
½ July 6, 2010
This influential silent film would mark one of cinema's most iconic sequences, Harold Lloyd hanging off of a clock from a tall building. The film has definitely stood the test of time, with a small time country boy going off the big city in order to procure work. Its downright prophetic when it comes to the difficulties of working in retail, right down to the tight-ass supervisor that always rats on you, to giant crowds of angry shopper who want a good find during a super sale. The building climb climax is definitely the highlight, but I felt everything else before it was good too. This is definitely required viewing for silent or comedy film fans.
July 7, 2008
A good testament to Lloyd's comedic talent.
December 2, 2014
"Safety Last!" combines the heart of Charlie Chaplin and the physical brilliance of Buster Keaton with the silent era's genius "Harold Lloyd".
October 9, 2014
One of the absolute funniest in silent cinema. Harold Lloyd was a genius at physical comedy, rivaling Chaplin and Keaton in his vast agility and on-screen persona. It tells a sweet story through a cavalcade of laughs. When I saw this at The Palace Theatre in Syracuse, the whole audience was rolling in the isles. This is classic comedy at it's finest.
September 27, 2014
Simply one of the great silent comedies, by one of the great silent comedians. There probably isn't a film from the twenties remembered more often for a single scene than this is for the clock tower sequence, but the whole film is a balanced mechanism of pure comic geniusness.
½ September 14, 2014
Even before we get to the famous climb, the story has already delivered enough good, clever gags to be a perfectly satisfying comedy. The climb, reluctant and and forced, purely motivated by The Boy trying to hide his 'failure,' is a capper on an already good movie.

The stunts are even more impressive for having been accomplished after Lloyd lost his right thumb and forefinger.
March 7, 2014
With its breath-taking, timeless climax and a big pack of gags throughout, this is probably the most hilarious silent comedy I've seen so far, with an underrating. (A-)

(Full review coming soon)
August 21, 2014
Safety Last! has very awkward pacing mainly because the climbing sequence is awfully extended, but what a scene it is! Groundbreaking, authentic, memorable, iconic, entertaining, at times thrilling, at times hilarious, it is the scene that surely overshadows the rest of the movie. But the rest of it is good as well. Lloyd's stunts and antics work out many times and he, while nowhere near as good as Chaplin, is however much better than Buster Keaton.
May 15, 2014
Harold Lloyd climbing that clock tower is one of the funniest, yet nerve-wrecking sequences ever put on film.
June 4, 2014
After 90 years, it's still funny.
½ March 27, 2014
The climb was what I expected...awesome....but the other material is done just as well.......
February 23, 2014
a 1923 silent from the contemporary of Chaplin & Keaton, Harold Lloyd. this is probably his most well known film. It's amusing and has great stunts, not on the level of Chaplin and Keaton, but definitely worth watching! Check it out!
½ January 5, 2014
If you're acrophobic, it may not be the film for you. Excellent comedy, otherwise. Brilliantly created.
February 10, 2014
The very first action film is extremely skillful and warm. I laughed so many times out loud in the last building-climbing scene and was on the edge of my seat of suspense. The timing and amazement of the stunts are still way over my head.
February 9, 2014
My first Harold Lloyd. So this is about a boy (Lloyd), who is anxious to impress his girl (Mildred Davis), so much so that he may inadvertently become involved in a highly dangerous publicity stunt for cash. Outside of Buster Keaton, I have very limited exposure to the silent classics. Harold Lloyd's face works for this medium, and he has sort of a Rick Moranis thing going on. Watching this film, I did see that he did have a lot of physicality to his performance, but I felt that he didn't take as many risks as Keaton... that is, until I got to the big centerpiece of the film. Let me tell you, I was on pins and needles for the last fifteen minutes, and it is a jaw dropping finale. It's a dizzying accomplishment, and I don't know how they could have shot this without putting Lloyd at huge, personal risk. It's impossible not to watch with baited breath, and it is really what you walk away talking about. The rest of the film has tons of laugh out loud funny visual gags. There's a lot to recommend about this, and it is quite charming through and through.
January 18, 2014
Brilliant. Everyone should see this at least once.
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