Safety Last!  
01 April 1923
Pathé Exchange
silent feature
70 minutes

Director: Fred C. Newmeyer  Director/Story: Sam Taylor  Producer/Story: Hal Roach  Story: Tim Whelan
Titles: H.M. Walker  Cinematography: Walter Lundin  Editor: Thomas J. Crizer

(click images for

Harold is at Grand Bend train station about to leave his fiancé (Mildred Davis) and mother behind on the platform, hoping to make good in the city so that he can return to marry his girl.  After a series of errors in which Harold first picks up a black child by mistake and then jumping onto the back of a passing cart, he finally makes the train.
Fast forward a few months and Harold is living in the city, sharing accomodation with his pal, "Limpy Bill" (Bill Strother).  Harold proudly shows Bill some jewelry (a la vallier) he has bought for Mildred, but in order to afford it he had to pawn one of his phonograph records, for twelve dollars.  It's at this point his pal shows him an overdue rent notice for $14.  Just then, the landlady knocks on their door.  In what is surely one of the best gags of the film, the two guys quickly put on their coats, climb up onto a footing on the wall and hide from the landlady, who enters the room and doesn't spot them up against the wall hiding under their coats.
Harold sends his girl the present along with a long love letter, which she excitedly reads.


•Lead actress Mildred Davis married Harold Lloyd two months prior to this film's release.
Did you notice?
•The opening shot of Harold Lloyd behind bars is very clever, as the screen then reveals a hanging noose behind him.  It turns out to be a double-fool because it is in fact a train station.  Quite the co-incidence the film was released on April Fool's Day?
•There is a continuity error in the next shot as the group, whilst standing next to the bars, turn their backs and begin walking away from the camera, so that in the very next shot the group are seen walking towards the camera.  The problem is, they had already taken several steps forward in the previous shot yet when the camera cuts to them walking towards the camera (the platform), they seemingly begin their walk from the bars again.  This could not have been possible in theory.
When the black lady brings her child into the train station at the beginning, as she sets the child down it begins to cry.  As the shot cuts to a close up of the two, the child appears to be completely normal.
•The train that Harold Lloyd catches at the beginning of the film is number 1229 and has the letters A.T. & S.F. (which was Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway) on the side of it.  I do find it odd, even in 1923 that a train would allow passengers to alight into the middle of a road!
•There is an intertitle card which reads "one pocketbook between them, usually empty".  A variation of this card was later used in Laurel & Hardy's Laughing Gravy.
•The pawn ticket is dated May 5th, 1922.  Just in case anyone is interested - that was a Friday.  It was pawned at Uncle Ike's Pawn Shop, 1110 Hester Street, ticket number 37462, and was for $12.
•Here's an interesting observation: the pawn ticket says 1922, yet the intertitle card which refers to Harold writing several letters to his girl has a calendar in the top-left corner which clearly says 1923.

DVD screencapture - Lord Heath - Laurel & Hardy - Another Nice Mess - Harold Lloyd
The boy
DVD screencapture - Lord Heath - Laurel & Hardy - Another Nice Mess - Mildred Davis
Bill Strother
Limpy Bill
DVD screencapture - Lord Heath - Laurel & Hardy - Another Nice Mess - Noah Young
The law
  Westcott Clarke
  Roy Brooks
Man laughing at window
  Mickey Daniels
Newsboy with freckles
  Richard Daniels
Worker with Acetylene torch
  Ray Erlenborn
Newsboy with cap
William Gillespie
General manager's assistant
  Helen Gilmore
Department store customer
  Wallace Howe
Man with flowers/
Studio photographer
  James T. Kelley
Old driver of delivery truck
  Gus Leonard
Office worker
  Sam Lufkin
Pawnshop owner
  Earl Mohan
Drunk exiting Acme Drug Co.
  Marie Mosquini
Lyle Tayo
  Fred C. Newmeyer
Car driver who receives parking ticket
Charles Stevenson
Ambulance attendant
  Anna Townsend
Grandma punched during sale
  Patrick Youch
Clock sequence onlooker
Villie Latimer
Woman in background

Noose man at train station
Harold's mother
Harold's father
Train conductor
Lady and child


Acknowledgements: (John Bengtson)! (Wikipedia)
A History Of The Hal Roach Studios by Richard Lewis Ward (book)
Jim Clewer (screenshots: Charles Stevenson, William Gillespie, Villie Latimer)
Tom Schober (help and assistance)
Steve Wright (identification and screenshot of Lyle Tayo)

This page was last updated on: 19 December 2022