Safety Last! - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Safety Last! Reviews

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August 16, 2016
Iconic, fun packed, gag filled silent comedy with an unforgetable nail-biting final act that never stops giving right until the last second.
May 24, 2016
Harold Lloyd was a huge star in his day. The image in this film of him holding onto the clock high on a building is iconic.
While a lot of this is dated, there are many funny and creative bits. Hiding from his landlady by pretending to be a coat is one funny scene.
The best though, is Lloyd climbing the building. Lots of suspense and humor.
Antonius Block
Super Reviewer
May 1, 2016
I'm not an expert on the silent era by any means, but I have to say, this seems like a must-see movie for those who are interested in this period of filmmaking. It includes the iconic moment of Harold Lloyd dangling from a clock face many stories off the ground, and also many wonderful sight gags and a cute story.

We see Lloyd accidentally getting on a horse-drawn ice wagon instead of the train in the beginning, as he goes off to the city to earn enough money to get married to his sweetheart. We see him and his buddy putting their coats on, hanging themselves up on hooks, and pulling their legs up out of sight to avoid the landlady who is looking for rent in a brilliant scene. He gets a job as a salesman, and we see him handle a crowd of women all going berserk over a fabric sale in all sorts of inventive ways.

The scenes of him climbing perilously up a building wall take place over the final 20 minutes of the film, and has him dodging nuts dumped out by a child, being mobbed by pigeons, being hit with a net from above and a giant wooden beam for the side before reaching the clock face. He then hangs from the clock hands in a scene that is both funny and thrilling, since you know it's real, and the framing of the scene is absolutely perfect. As he ascends he'll also dangle from a rope, have a mouse crawl up his leg, and walk precipitously on the edge of a couple of ledges.

You're not going to be laughing out loud, but Lloyd is likeable and charming, and you will probably marvel at his inventiveness, as well as the danger in performing the climbing stunt, which he did himself for the most part, with nothing but a mattress a few stories below (off-screen) for safety. It was 'safety last' in the real sense as well! Definitely worth seeing if you get a chance.
December 12, 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 October 18, 2015
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 September 9, 2015
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 4, 2015
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.
August 24, 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.
July 21, 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 February 21, 2014
If you're acrophobic, it may not be the film for you. Excellent comedy, otherwise. Brilliantly created.
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