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Safety Last! (1923) is perhaps the most famous and best-remembered film of silent film comedian Harold Lloyd. Harold is working as a clerk in a department store. He has been telling his girlfriend back home that he is a big success and sending her presents he can't really afford, which causes a problem when she comes to the city to visit him. Harold temporarily solves this problem by pretending to be the manager of his department store, but a more permanent solution offers itself when the real manager says he'll offer $1000 to anyone who can come up with a good publicity stunt to attract attention to the store. Harold concocts a scheme in which his good friend Bill will climb up the side of the building as a stunt. However, a local cop is after Bill and Bill has to flee, leaving poor Harold to do the dangerous stunt himself.
The shot of Lloyd hanging from the clock is the Signature Scene of Lloyd's career, gracing the cover of the recent DVD box set.
- The Danza: Lloyd's character is named Harold Lloyd. Mildred Davis plays Mildred.
- Dodgy Toupee
- Excited Show Title
- Fake-Out Opening: This was a regular gag for Lloyd.
- Greedy Jew: Harold buys a chain for his girlfriend from a shifty jeweller with a hooked nose called Silverstein, who constantly wrings his hands in avarice (the accompanying musician(s) shift into Klezmer-type music here, just so we get the point). Harold, embarrassed, starts imitating the man's hand-wringing.
- Happy Ending: As was typical for Lloyd.
- Iris Out
- Literal Cliff Hanger: Takes up most of the third act. Dangling from the clock and other portions of the department store building wasn't quite as dangerous as it looked; clever camera work disguised the fact that there was a rooftop underneath Lloyd.
- Maintain the Lie
- Pun-Based Title
- Romance on the Set: Lloyd and Mildred Davis got married right after completing this film.
- Roof Hopping
- Silence Is Golden
- Squirrels in My Pants