Safety Last! Silent Cinema Comedy Film

Safety Last!

  1. The event took place on
Carlos F. Heredero

Safety Last! (1923) by Fred Newmeyer and Sam Taylor (74’)
Presentation: Carlos F. Heredero

A North-American film by Sam Taylor, starring Harold Lloyd. Lloyd (who was the best-paid comedian in Hollywood during the silent-film era), with his glasses and straw hat, embodies the average American on the big screen, naïve, stubborn and optimistic, and excels for his acrobatic prowess. In this film, in which he portrayed a provincial salesclerk, he struggled to maintain his balance without plummeting to the ground, climbing the facade of an imposing skyscraper, without the help of doubles, in one of the most drawn-out and inimitable scenes in motion-picture history.

On Saturday, the video of the presentation recorded the day before will be shown.


  1. Carlos F. HerederoCarlos F. Heredero

    Es historiador y crítico de cine. Dirige la revista Caimán Cuadernos de Cine (antes Cahiers du cinéma España) desde 2007 y es profesor de Historia del Cine en la ECAM. Ha sido el crítico titular de Diario 16 (1988-2001) y colaborador habitual en las revistas Dirigido por, Cinemanía y Nosferatu.

    Autor de numerosos ensayos, estudios historiográficos y monografías sobre cineastas (Sam Peckinpah, John Huston, Eric Rohmer, Joseph L. Mankiewicz, Manuel Gutiérrez Aragón, Pedro Beltrán, Wong Kar-wai, Aki Kaurismäki, etc.), en 1995 recibió el Premio Sant Jordi de Cinematografía por los libros Las huellas del tiempo. Cine español 1951-1961 (1993) y El lenguaje de la luz. Entrevistas con directores de fotografía del cine español (1994). En 2010 publicó, con A. Santamarina, La biblioteca del cine español y en 2011 y 2012 el Diccionario de Cine Español e Iberoamericano (10 vols.), que dirigió junto con Eduardo Rodríguez Merchán e Iván Giroud.

    Miembro del jurado de la FIPRESCI en el Festival de San Sebastián de 1993. Ha sido director de los cursos de cine de verano de la Universidad del País Vasco y guionista de varios documentales sobre cine, dirigidos por Carlos Rodríguez. Sus más recientes publicaciones son Abismos de pasión: “Amantes”, de Vicente Aranda (2016, con C. Gómez) y la monografía dedicada al director hongkonés Wong Kar-wai (2018).

Harold Lloyd (1893 / 1971) was at the beginning of 20's the best payed actor in the world, and one of the richest men in America. He had starred in more than 180 comic short films (a number higher than what the combination of Chaplin and Keaton could produce) and he was a born winner who lived in a huge mansion in Beverly Hills with 44 rooms, an olympic pool, sports fields, and golf course. And it is precisely about this -the conquer of social success- that most of his films talked about, including the short films, the eleven silent and seven sound feature films in which he starred along his entire filmography. Among them, we have of course Safety Last! the fourth of his feature films, a movie that includes one of the most famous comic scenes in the history of cinema: the one showing Harold Lloyd escalating a high skyscraper and holding on to the hands of a clock. An iconic image a thousand times repeated that lives in the imagination of all fans.

Creator of a characteristic character ("Winckle"), always wearing a straw hat and tortoiseshell sunglasses, Lloyd sought humor through the misunderstandings that tend to place his creature in an embarrassing situation, which he normally ignores and cause the emotional bonding with the spectator, as it is masterfully represented in the first sequence of Safety Last! His humor is always calculated, precise and with a marked tendency to acrobatic situations, among which the force of the high-point scene of this movie shines. A movie inspired by the discovery by Harold Lloyd of a true "human fly" who was dedicated to climbing buildings (Bill Strothers), and who as a matter of fact stars in the most dangerous scenes of the film, where he was the stunt of the extremely famous and wealthy Harold Lloyd.