'Safety Last' - Movie Review

Back in the silent era, there were (at least) four major comedy stars. The best known of these now is Charlie Chaplin, while most people recognize the name of Buster Keaton. Hardly anyone remembers Fatty Arbuckle, and very few people know who Harold Lloyd was - even though 90% of cinema-goers would recognize the most famous scene from this movie: Lloyd hanging off a clock face seven stories in the air.

Lloyd plays "The Boy," who goes to the city to make it big so he can marry "The Girl" (Mildred Davis). He's a bit of a goof, and gets in trouble. And when The Girl comes to town, he lies horribly to convince her he has a much better job than he actually has. An opportunity comes up to make a lot of money - he convinces a friend to climb the department store he works in. But in the end, the friend can't make the climb (he's being chased by the police) so The Boy has to do it. This occupies about half the movie, with them finding new and odd ways to make him almost fall off the building at every floor (with a clock around the seventh).

Unfortunately, like most Buster Keaton movies, this one has been strip-mined for gags in the intervening years and much of it looks derivative even though it's the original and the more recent movies are the copies. I was impressed by Lloyd's athleticism, but hardly laughed at all in the 1h13m run-time.