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Critics reviews
Safety Last!
Fred C. Newmeyer, Sam Taylor United States, 1923
Along with being the quintessential Harold Lloyd comedy, Safety Last! is also one of the most significant American silent films. It not only defines the work of a top comedian and filmmaker, it also indicates how a movie made over 90 years ago can still evoke the same audience reaction as it had when initially released.
March 17, 2017
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It could be that the poetry is darker than critics realized, an art of concealment: the simple pair of glasses is the uniform that renders his true nature invisible, volatile, subject to change. In Safety Last!, this poetry finds expression in visual echoes and hectic repetition, the quick metamorphoses (as when Harold cowers from a supervisor by hopping like a frog), and the inside-outside structure.
June 17, 2013
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[The shot of Harold Lloyd hanging from a giant clock is] a masterful image: The composition is almost painterly, drawing the eye from Lloyd up through his arms to the broken clock face and the towering skyscraper to which it’s attached, its height seemingly insurmountable, before taking us out and over the cityscape, the teeming crowds, and finally down the long, distant street, which leads directly back to our hapless hero’s neatly polished wingtips.
June 16, 2013
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Even (or perhaps, particularly) when [the clock gag] is removed from its carefully motivated context, the image maintains its force and piquancy as a metaphor of urban anxiety: modern man uncertainly suspended over the chasm of an uncaring, impersonal metropolis, struggling to hold on to something, anything, as his feet churn the void and the minutes of his life click away.
June 14, 2013
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