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Safety Last! (1923)
 (หนังเงียบ มีบรรยายอังกฤษ)

(ดีวีดี 2 แผ่น)

ควรค่าน่าดูตรงที่ : เป็นเงียบที่ดังที่สุดเรื่องหนึ่งของโลก Harold Lloyd คือหนึ่งในสามนักแสดงตลกที่โด่งดังที่สุดในยุคหนังเงียบ นอกเหนือจาก Charlie Chaplin และ Buster Keaton เอกลักษณ์ของเขา คือสวมแว่นตากลมโต safety last!คือ หนังที่ทำให้เกิด ภาพจำในตัวเขา โดยเฉพาะฉากเสี่ยงตายห้อยโตงเตงจากนาฬิกา ที่ใช้เทคนิคมุมกล้องหลอกตา และตัดต่อ ได้อย่างน่าทึ่ง เฉินหลง เคยเลียนแบบฉากนี้ ใน Project A เพื่อคาราวะดาราตลกผู้นี้แต่ตกลงมาบาดเจ็บสาหัส safety last! เป็นหนังเงียบ ของทศวรรษที่ 20 เพียงเรื่องเดียวที่ติดอันดับ 100ภาพยนตร์ตื่นเต้นเร้าใจที่สุดของสถาบันภาพยนตร์อเมริกัน

 
 

Director:Fred C. Newmeyer, Sam Taylor Producer:Hal Roach Written by:H. M. Walker (titles), Jean Havez (uncredited)

Story by: Hal Roach, Sam Taylor, Harold Lloyd (uncredited) Music:Carl Davis ... (1990 alternate version), Don Hulette ... (1974) Cinematography:Walter Lundin Edited:T. J. Crizer Running time:73 minutes Country:United States Language:Silent

Genre: Comedy, Thriller Subtitle:English intertitles Starring: Harold Lloyd as The Boy, Mildred Davis as The Girl,
Bill Strother as The Pal, "Limpy" Bill, Noah Young as The Law, Westcott Clarke as Mr. Stubbs, The Floorwalker,
Earl Mohan as The Drunk (uncredited), Mickey Daniels as The Kid (uncredited), Anna Townsend as The Grandma (uncredited)

 

Storyline:

In 1922, the country boy Harold says goodbye to his mother and his girlfriend Mildred in the train station and leaves Great Bend expecting to be successful in the big city. Harold promises to Mildred to get married with her as soon as he "make good". Harold shares a room with his friend "Limpy" Bill and he finally gets a job as salesman in the De Vore Department Store. However, he pawns Bill''s phonograph, buys a lavaliere and writes to Mildred telling that he is a manager of De Vore. One day, Harold sees an old friend from Great Bend that is a policeman and when he meets his friend Bill, he asks Bill to push the policeman over him and make him fall down. However Bill pushes the wrong policeman that chases him, but he escapes climbing up a building. Out of the blue, Mildred is convinced by her mother to visit Harold without previous notice and he pretends to be the manager of De Vore. When Harold overhears the general manager telling that he would give one thousand dollars to to anyone...


Special Features:
 
DISC ONE:
- The Film
- Musical score by composer Carl Davis from 1989, synchronized and restored under his supervision
- Alternate score by organist Gaylord Carter from the late 1960s
- Audio commentary featuring film critic Leonard Maltin and director and Harold Lloyd archivist Richard Correll
- Introduction by Suzanne Lloyd, Lloyd’s granddaughter and the president of Harold Lloyd Entertainment (17:20)
- Three newly restored Lloyd shorts: Take a Chance (1918, 10:20), Young Mr. Jazz (1919, 10:00), and His Royal Slyness (1920, 21:44), with commentary by Correll and film writer John Bengtson
DISC TWO:
- Harold Lloyd: The Third Genius, a 108-minute documentary from 1989
- Locations and Effects, a new documentary featuring Bengtson and visual-effects expert Craig Barron (20:36)
- Carl Davis: Scoring for Harold, a new interview with Davis (24:06)


Trailer:


Awards: 

 

Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films, USA 2006

Nominated
Saturn Award
Best DVD Collection
For An Eastern Westerner , The Kid Brother , Get Out and Get Under , For Heaven''s Sake , High and Dizzy ,Now or Never , From Hand to Mouth , The Cat''s Pawand Movie Crazy
For "The Harold Lloyd Comedy Collection Vols. 1-3".
 

National Film Preservation Board, USA 1994

Won
National Film Registry
 
 

 

 

Review:
The comic genius of silent star Harold Lloyd is eternal. Chaplin is the sweet innocent, Keaton the stoic outsider, but Lloyd—the modern guy striving for success—is us. And with its torrent of perfectly executed gags and astonishing stunts, Safety Last! is the perfect introduction to him. Lloyd plays a small-town bumpkin trying to make it in the big city, who finds employment as a lowly department-store clerk. He comes up with a wild publicity stunt to draw attention to the store, resulting in an incredible feat of derring-do on his part that gets him started on the climb to success. Laugh-out-loud funny and jaw-dropping in equal measure, Safety Last! is a movie experience par excellence, anchored by a genuine legend.

It is one of the most iconic images of film comedy, and quite possibly the most iconic image of the silent era: Harold Lloyd, with his round owl glasses and straw hat, dangling perilously from the hands of a clock on the side of a towering building in downtown Los Angeles. Even those who have no interest in silent comedies and may not even know who Harold Lloyd is will probably recognize this often reproduced image, whose storied place in the iconography of popular culture remains unshakeable. Yet, what is most compelling about this image is not the power, both humorous and thrilling, that it continues to embody in and of itself, but rather how it singularly embodies so perfectly the intertwined sense of humor and social anxiety in Safety Last!, the film in which it appears.

Those who see the image without having seen the film itself probably don’t ask themselves how Lloyd’s character (who is billed as “The Boy,” but is referred to as Harold throughout the story) got himself into that precarious predicament in the first place. His hanging from the side of a building is the climactic quintessence of the film’s singular focus on the desperation of social and financial advancement and the shame of falling short. Safety Last! is essentially a small-mouse-in-the-big-city tale, in which Harold leaves his family and beloved girlfriend Mildred (Mildred Davis, whom Lloyd married just before the film’s premiere) behind in the small burg of Great Bend to make it big in Los Angeles. He promises to send for Mildred once he’s made his fortune so they can be properly married, but he quickly finds that success is difficult to achieve. Both he and his friend “Limpy” Bill (Bill Strother, a real-life human fly whose exploits inspired the film) are in dire straits, although Harold compounds the issue by pretending that he is financially successful, sending Mildred expensive presents financed by pawning his meager possessions and misleading letters about his managerial importance and wealth.

In truth, Harold is barely scraping by working as a salesclerk at a downtown department store, which is humorously depicted as a barely controlled den of chaos in which shoppers descend on him en masse, demanding his attention and, at one point, literally ripping the coat off his back in the process. Harold is hard-working and attentive, but like many tragicomic figures, he is beset by constant misfortune. At one point he is almost late to work because he is accidentally trapped in the back of a laundry truck, and at work his diligence is constantly undermined by Stubbs (Westcott B. Clarke), a petty mid-level-manager looking for his own advancement. When Mildred unexpectedly shows up at the department store, Harold must put on a grand display to convince her that he is the store’s manager, rather than a meager salesclerk, which entails all manner of clever misdirection and subterfuge (at one point he must continue pretending to be the manager in the manager’s office with the actual manager present).

Harold’s dangling from the side of the building is the direct result of his plan to create a major event to draw attention to the department store after he overhears the manager complaining about the store’s lack of marketing and how he would give $1,000 to anyone who could draw crowds to the front door. Harold’s original idea is to have Bill, who had earlier climbed up a building to escape an angry police officer (Noah Young), scale the side of the department store as a mysterious “human fly,” but when the still-angry police officer shows up at the event, it falls on Harold to be the “Mystery Man” who will scale the building, despite being somewhat clumsy and having no climbing experience. Yet, in the extended sequence that comprises the film’s thrilling climax, Harold does indeed scale the building, putting on a demonstration of physical strength, flexibility, and ingenuity that is always coupled with a comical goofiness that has us simultaneously laughing and gasping in awe. It is one of the great feats of physical comedy, and it was something that Lloyd had been building toward for several years after having helped pioneer the “comic thrill” subgenre in films such as High and Dizzy (1920). In this regard, Safety Last! is viewed by many as Lloyd’s crowning achievement, the greatest film by a consummate perfectionist whose comic stardom had him besting both Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton at the box office in the early 1920s (he also made more films than both of those comic icons combined, although he was forgotten for several decades because his films fell out of circulation and did not play on television in the ’50s and ’60s).

The building ascent is giddy vertiginous comedy at its finest, and even though history has eventually revealed the various tricks Lloyd employed to create the illusion of constant physical danger (for decades it was believed that he genuinely scaled the building, rather than elaborate façades built on the roofs of several different buildings), it remains one of the most suspenseful sequences ever committed to film. The fact that everything was done for real in-camera (no process shots or miniatures here) gives the sequence a truly dizzying physicality.

But, beyond the illusory tricks and aesthetics of the building climb, the sequence crackles because there is so much at stake. Far from being an extended gag divorced from the narrative proper, Harold’s dangerous ascent is the manifestation of his desperation for upward mobility, without which he fears he will lose Mildred and, therefore, his legitimacy. Every foot that he clamors up the side of the building, grasping at jutting bricks and swinging himself over wide ledges while dealing with pesky pigeons, a rambling rodent, and gawking onlookers hanging out the windows, is not just another instance of avoiding death or serious bodily injury, but a measure of his social anxiety and need to prove himself. The climb has both comic and dramatic weight because it is both a thrilling exercise in physical humor and a thematically rich evocation of the pressures men feel to succeed, lest they be viewed as less than a man; his recognizable desire for upward mobility is literalized, made physically, not just socially, harrowing. The fact that Lloyd’s character is a slightly goofy, bespectacled nerd of less-than-imposing physicality makes his eventual triumph all the more rewarding, as he successfully tackles both the skyline of downtown Los Angeles and his own insecurities.
QNetwork

Harold Lloyd''s Safety Last! is inseparable from its signature image—that of Lloyd himself, bespectacled and well-tailored, hanging precariously from an oversized clock fixed to the side of a 12-story building in downtown Los Angeles, his hands clasped tightly around the minute hand as if it were a rope with which he might be lowered gently back to earth. It''s 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.

This single shot establishes not only a legible sense of space, an urban void into which a man may be instantly swallowed up, but also of movement, of both the climb and the fall it might portend. The image conveys the danger of the situation so elegantly, unobscured by montage, that it seems somehow counterintuitive for it to be configured as broad comedy rather than gripping drama. But the reason it works as the setup for a series of increasingly spectacular punchlines is the same reason it endures as iconography: Lloyd''s clock-stopping stunt, like Chaplin''s gear-worming in Modern Times more than a decade later, is so bound up in the shared anxieties of modern living that it can only function as a necessary comic release. The skyscraper and the clock aren''t incidental: They are central symbols of a society just settling into an industrialized, urbanized modernity. Lloyd''s sight gag not only taps into the feelings of the period, but fully and succinctly articulates them.

And yet, while a dangling Harold Lloyd may be the film''s most iconic image, many of its most effective gags are found before this climactic set piece even begins. The striking tableaux which opens Safety Last!—a misdirect in which waiting for an arriving train is made to look like the preparation for a hanging, as though being sent to the big city were its own kind of death sentence—is simply the first in a long line of jokes made at the expense of modern living, whose basic character the film defines as essentially chaotic. Miscommunication and physical blunders abound in a metropolis seemingly designed to not only accommodate, but actively encourage both, and if Lloyd happens to walk unknowingly into one disaster after another, it''s less the fault of his own clumsiness than the unsound landscape he''s resigned to traverse. And so public transportation becomes, in the film''s conception, a Darwinian anthill crawling with ardent hangers-on, while a department store on sale day seems a veritable battlefield on which a clerk stands little chance of surviving the afternoon.

Many of these sequences would hardly feel out of place in a contemporary comedy, a testament as much to the vigor of the filmmaking as to how little our problems have changed in nearly a century. Earning a living is still a Sisyphean grind; customer service is still a tortuous profession; customers, generally speaking, are still oblivious and cruel. At its best, Safety Last! draws out the humor inherent in these truths at the same time that it reminds us of their awfulness, an effective strategy that''s both cathartic and sad. One sequence that does this especially well finds Lloyd, a week''s paycheck in hand, torn between a 50-cent "businessman''s lunch" and a piece of jewelry he feels compelled to buy for his girl. The gift will cost him $15.50, all the money he has in the world. While buying it he stares across the street at a display window in which sits a bountiful five-course feast, and, as he hands each of his last five dimes to the jeweler, the five courses disappear one by one. The scene ends with Lloyd stepping out of the shop and into the street, but now, as he looks once more at the restaurant, the image goes out of focus. Modern living means self-abnegation and working hard for something you cannot even buy. Not much has changed in 91 years.
Harold Lloyd''s Safety Last! reminds us how little has changed in nearly a century.
Slant Magazine



 


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