The image of Harold Lloyd clinging desperately from the hands of a skyscraper clock during Safety Last! (1923) is one of the great icons of film history. The recent multiple Oscar-winning movie Hugo (2011) pays tribute to Safety Last!; first by including a clip of Harold’s film within the movie, and again when the young hero Hugo Cabret finds himself hanging from the hands of a clock at the train station where he lives. Even the poster artwork for Hugo mirrors Lloyd’s earlier film.
With maps, aerial views, and vintage photographs, my book Silent Visions devotes a full chapter to the burgeoning Los Angeles skyline appearing in Safety Last! and Lloyd’s other stunt-climbing comedies filmed within the downtown Historic Core. The following slides provide a brief overview, and may be downloaded further below as a 14 MB PowerPoint presentation.
[Note: on the ground, Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton and Harold Lloyd filmed scenes from their masterpieces The Kid (1921), Cops (1922) and Safety Last! at the same Hollywood alley you can still visit today.]
Here is the link to download the PowerPoint. Most of the slides are animated, so wait a moment each time before clicking the “next” button.
You will need a PowerPoint viewer to watch the show, and can download a PowerPoint viewer at this site.
I am also posting here, once again, a self-guided walking tour of the downtown Los Angeles locations Harold Lloyd used in Safety Last!, along with locations from Never Weaken and Feet First.
You can also check out my other posts about Safety Last! here.
A short segment from the Locations and Effects 2013 documentary with Academy-Award winning effects supervisor Craig Barron and the author filmed for the Criterion Collection release of the Safety Last! Blu-ray appears below.
If you need a good laugh, or want to raise your spirits, just listen to Michael Mortilla’s audio-only recording of the audience laughing and squealing with delight while watching Safety Last! It’s great to play as background music - the swells and squeals of laughter just grow and grow.
HAROLD LLOYD images and the names of Mr. Lloyd’s films are all trademarks and/or service marks of Harold Lloyd Entertainment Inc. Images and movie frame images reproduced courtesy of The Harold Lloyd Trust and Harold Lloyd Entertainment Inc.
The site of the clock set, above, at 908 S. Broadway on Google Maps.