How Harold Lloyd Filmed Safety Last!

108 - T Lloyd Safety Last Tally's Broadway Theatre below 2 crpThe image of Harold Lloyd hanging desperately from the hands of a skyscraper clock during Safety Last! (1923) is one of the great icons of film history.  Using maps, aerial views, and vintage photographs, my book Silent Visions shows how Harold filmed each of his five stunt-climbing comedies within the downtown Los Angeles Historic Core, while documenting the burgeoning urban skyline as it appears in the background of his films.

On the roof of 908 S. Broadway from Safety Last! and the YouTube video clip

The closing scene from Safety Last! (left) was filmed on the roof of 908 S. Broadway, the same building where the clock stunt climbing set was built. The same roof (right), now supporting the steel girder foundation for a large antennae, appears during the Criterion Collection Locations and Effects mini clip.

The slides below show how the many Safety Last! stunts were created, and may be downloaded further below as a 14 MB PowerPoint presentation.  You can also access a self-guided walking tour of the downtown locations appearing in Safety Last!, Never Weaken, and Feet First.

[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.]

SL short blog_Page_01

SL short blog_Page_02

SL short blog_Page_03

SL short blog_Page_04

SL short blog_Page_05

SL short blog_Page_06

SL short blog_Page_07

SL short blog_Page_08

SL short blog_Page_09

SL short blog_Page_10

SL short blog_Page_11

SL short blog_Page_12

SL short blog_Page_13

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.

The recent multiple Oscar-winning movie Hugo pays tribute to Safety Last!; first by including a clip of the Lloyd movie within the film, and also when the young hero Hugo Cabret finds himself hanging from a train station clock. Hugo (C) 2011 Paramount Pictures

How Harold Lloyd Filmed Safety Last by John Bengtson

You will need a PowerPoint viewer to watch the show, and can download a PowerPoint viewer at this site.

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.

Michael Mortilla accompanying Safety Last!

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.

This entry was posted in Harold Lloyd, Lloyd Thrill Pictures, Los Angeles Historic Core, Safety Last! and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

14 Responses to How Harold Lloyd Filmed Safety Last!

  1. Pingback: How Harold Lloyd Filmed Safety Last! | The Bioscope | Scoop.it

  2. Pingback: My favorite movie scene of L.A. - City-Data Forum

  3. Pingback: בעקבות הזמן האבוד : הפנקס – כתב עת מקוון לתרבות וספרות לילדים

  4. Pingback: Oh, Doctor! (1925), A Silent Film Review | Movies, Silently

  5. Pingback: How Harold Lloyd Filmed Safety Last (the parts on the ground) | Chaplin-Keaton-Lloyd film locations (and more)

  6. Pingback: How Harold Lloyd filmed the Safety Last! finale (at three places) | Chaplin-Keaton-Lloyd film locations (and more)

  7. Jonathan says:

    There are several high and very wide shots in the climbing sequence of Safety Last where Harold, or a stunt performer is seemingly free solo climbing the side of the building; no perspective or facade as described above. Did he do it, or did someone like Harry Gardiner double for him?

    • Hi Jonathan – as I explain in my book, Bill Strother climbed the International Bank Building (1907-1954) formerly at Temple and Spring for the wide shots. The building did not have a clock, so the prop department had to put up a phoney clock on the real building to match shots with Harold on the clock set.

  8. Pingback: The Last Edition 1925 – filmed in San Francisco (and LA) | Chaplin-Keaton-Lloyd film locations (and more)

    • Grace Rellie says:

      Just out of curiosity, did you get a chance to discuss this with Suzanne Llyod? I met her and her son a few years back in Chicago. She knew a lot about her grandfather and explained some of the details into the making of this movie.

      She flew in to Chicago for the first showing of Safety Last since it was put into the vault by Harold. At that time she said she was putting it back in after we saw it at the Gateway Theater (also known as the Copernicus Center.) Later she allowed it to be seen on Turner Classic Movies (TCM.) I’m glad she decided to finally release it to DVD so a few new generations could enjoy it.

      If you weren’t there that night let me tell you we had a ball. The theater was packed and with one gag rolling directly into the next there was no time to catch a breath. We laughed till our sides hurt and we kept laughing. It really was a night to remember. After all, how often do you have a full crowd in a theater all react the same way at the same time?

      Thanks for posting. I found your slides very interesting.

  9. Hi Grace – I’ve met Sue several times – we helped introduce Safety Last in downtown Los Angeles in 2011. One of the most gratifying compliments I have ever received was when she told me how pleased Harold would have been with this research, and that how even she has gained new insight and appreciation for his work.

  10. Pingback: Comedy Double-Feature: ‘A Century of Cinema’ Film Series | The Transformation of Things

  11. Pingback: 10 superior info About Jackie Chan | NewsDuet

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s