Series: Harold Lloyd feature

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

Stars: Harold Lloyd, Mildred Davis, Bill Strother, Noah Young, Westcott B. Clarke
Company: Pathé Exchange
Released: 01 April 1923
Length: 7 reels
Production No.: L-17
Filming dates: July 15 - October 18, 1922;
retakes October 23, November 29, December 1, 1922

Rating: -/10

Safety Last!

Available on BLU-RAY & DVD:

Harold is at Grand Bend train station about to leave his fiancĂ© (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 STOTHER). 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 he intends to buy himself some time in order to make it big before he can join him. Harold is sitting outside his work place and writing another letter to Mildred when he inadvertently gets himself locked in the back of a laundry truck and driven away. When the truck stops in town Harold berates the driver and tells him to drive back or else Harold will lose his job. Harold then tries to board a ridiculously overcrowded streetcar but gets off when a kind motorist pulls up and offers him a ride. This leads to the driver receiving a parking ticket for parking next to a fire hydrant when he goes to check on Harold who has fallen from the streetcar. Harold feigns an injury when he sees an ambulance parked outside a store and is put on a stretcher and driven away by the attendants.
When Harold realises what is happening he calls to be dropped off at the next stop, which is next to where he works. After he sees an employee being reprimanded for being late, Harold disguises himself as a mannequin and is carried into the office, where he quickly adjusts the clock to make him appear on time. Harold sneaks into the store on all-fours, which is observed by the floorwalker before getting to work as a salesperson.


Copyrighted January 25, 1923.
Premiered March 17, 1923.
Lead actress Mildred Davis married Harold Lloyd two months prior to this film's release. This was the last time she sppeared in one of his films.
Added to the National Film Registry on November 14, 1994.
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.

Harold Lloyd
The boy
Mildred Davis
Bill Strother
Limpy Bill
Noah Young
The law
Westcott Clarke
Mr. Stubbs, head floorwalker
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 during sale sequence
Patrick Youch
Clock sequence onlooker
Villie Latimer
Woman in background
George Jeske
Noose man at station
Charles Lloyd
Man at station/Painter
Oscar Morgan
Store employee moving mannequins
Katherine Grant
Blonde woman looking out of window
Charley Chase
Bystander as Harold climbs the building
Jack O'Brien
Man in strawboater hat
Ed Brandenburg
Man clapping
Chris Lynton
Man in crowd
Ham Kinsey
Store employee
Monte Collins Sr.
Laundry truck driver
Dorothea Wolbert
Picky fabric customer
Chester Bachman
Friendly cop
Patsy O'Byrne
Bespectacled woman in office
Molly Thompson
Woman with nerve tonic
Harold's mother
Harold's father
Woman at station
Man at station
People at station
Train conductor
Lady and child
Laundry customer
Elderly man who talks with Harold
Streetcar passenger Harold jumps on
Streetcar passenger
Streetcar passenger
Cop giving parking ticket
Late employee/Timekeeper
Customers... I think?
Man on girder
Pedestrians with nothing better to do
Angle 1
Pedestrians with nothing better to do
Angle 2
Half decent looking store employee
Store employee
Woman in elevator
Customer with outrageous hat
Store employee
Health & Safety daredevils
Ambulance driver

CREDITS (click image to enlarge) INTERTITLES (FIRST 18 MINUTES) (click image to enlarge)

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The Harold Lloyd Encyclopedia by Annette D'Agostino Lloyd (book)
A History Of The Hal Roach Studios by Richard Lewis Ward (book) (John Bengtson)! (Wikipedia)
Jim Clewer (screenshots: Charles Stevenson, William Gillespie, Villie Latimer)
Tom Schober (help and assistance)
Steve Wright (identification and screenshot of Lyle Tayo)
Jesse Brisson (identification of George Jeske, Charles Lloyd, Oscar Morgan, Katherine Grant, Charley Chase, Jack O'Brien, Ed Brandenburg,
Molly Thompson, Chris Lynton, Chester Bachman, Dorothea Wolbert, Patsy O'Byrne, Monte Collins Sr)

This page was last updated on: 13 May 2023