After Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton, the silent film era’s “third genius” was Harold Lloyd, who stars in this Horatio Alger-style story of an average country boy trying to make good in the big city. The Boy (Lloyd) leaves his sweetheart, The Girl (Mildred Davis, later the real-life Mrs. Lloyd) in Great Bend while he pursues his fortune in a teeming metropolis. The Boy lands a job as a clerk at a fabric counter of DeVore’s, a huge department store, but he lies in his letters home to his beloved, pretending to be the store’s manager and spending his earnings on lavish gifts. The Boy’s roommate, The Pal (Bill Strother) makes money as a “human fly,” performing attention-getting stunts. Promised $1,000 by DeVore’s real manager if he can devise a publicity gimmick, The Boy convinces his friend to climb the 12-story establishment and split the winnings with him. On the day of the event, however, The Pal is busy dodging The Law (Noah Young), forcing The Boy to make the arduous climb solo. Dodging a variety of obstacles, The Boy climbs higher and higher, eventually dangling from the store’s clock tower, in the film’s most memorable image.
Fred C. Newmeyer (August 9, 1881 – April 24, 1967) was an American actor and film director. A native of Central City, Colorado, he is best known for directing a handful of films in the Our Gang series and for directing Harold Lloyd movies The Freshman and Girl Shy. Newmeyer also had an extensive directing and acting resume in other comedy short films. He appeared as an actor in 71 films between 1914 and 1923.
Newmeyer was the original director of the first short in the Our Gang series, also titled Our Gang; his version tested poorly, and producer Hal Roach scrapped most of the footage and remade the short with Robert McGowan as the director. Newmeyer, after directing numerous other shorts at Roach, would return to the Our Gang series in 1936 to direct The Pinch Singer, Arbor Day, Male and Female and the feature film General Spanky.
Newmeyer co-directed (together with Sam Taylor) Harold Lloyd’s famous silent film “Safety Last!”.
Newmeyer died on April 24… read more
New York-born writer and director with a penchant for comedy. He graduated from Fordham University, and, from 1916, worked at Kalem on the ‘Ham and Bud’ series (Lloyd Hamilton & Bud Duncan). When Kalem was taken over by Vitagraph, Taylor became feature continuity writer. Sometime after 1920, he joined Hal Roach as a full screenwriter, eventually becoming an integral part of Harold Lloyd’s writing staff. He often worked in tandem with Fred C. Newmeyer as co-director of such comedy classics as Safety Last! (1923) and The Freshman (1925). Among his important solo directing efforts were Harold Lloyd’s For Heaven’s Sake (1926), Exit Smiling (1926), with Beatrice Lillie; Tempest (1928), with John Barrymore and Ambassador Bill (1931),with Will Rogers.
In 1937, Taylor founded Chase Productions in conjunction with his writer-brother Matt and authored the Broadway play ‘Stopover’, which ran for 23 performances at the Lyceum Theatre. Taylor directed Laurel & Hardy in one of their… read more
I'm calling it: SAFETY LAST is the greatest comedy ever! It makes you laugh hard while also making you desperately hope for the success of our hero, who symbolizes us to this day. In addition, the film has greater effect when shown on the big screen to a packed crowd, just like I was in when I saw the film for the first time. (Some live musical accompaniment doesn't hurt either.)
Lloyd doesn’t appear to rely on crafting a distinct persona, neither opting entirely for buffoonish slapstick, jaw-droppingly elaborate physical comedy or stone-faced deadpan - though he displays elements of all three, to be sure. His M.O. here comprises just as much of creative visual gags, as well as cheeky writing - including within intertitles - all the while following his antics while on Struggle Street in the big city. And they’re all funny, and just really charming - a lot of fun to be had here, across its entire length - a pleasure.
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