Safety Sometimes – The Camera Trickery of Harold Lloyd’s Safety Last (1923)

English: Image located opposite Page 145; Capt...It’s an image indelibly inked onto any cinephile’s mind, and one of the most iconic shots in film history: Harold Lloyd dangling helplessly from the face of a clock with things getting more and more desperate as each second passes.

Of course, today this would be very simple, with all of Lloyd’s action shot against a green screen in a studio and the surrounding buildings composited in later on a computer.  However, as this short clip from the recent Criterion blu-ray release of Harold Lloyd”s iconic film Safety Last shows, since all of the film’s stunts had to be done in camera, there was a lot more planning involved to ensure not only the actor’s safety, but that the shot came off exactly the way they wanted it to. It’s a great behind the scenes look at “the way they used to make ’em”, especially for those who grew up in the digital age and have no idea what used to go into making even a short scene like this one so incredibly memorable.

And just for good measure, for those who may not have ever seen it or those who simply want to revisit it, here’s the entire scene:

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