I will be examining Safety Last, an American silent film by the distinguished director Harold Lloyd. Lloyd was one of the most significant filmmakers of the silent film era. He was known for creating dangerous stunts in the majority of his popular films. His cinematic choices in a few scenes exemplified larger issues about the thrilling, and sometimes terrifying, experience of life in the Roaring Twenties. There are various themes portrayed throughout the film; bravery and love are the most apparent. The transitions between scenes reflect the central theme of time. The surface of the film Safety Last projects Harold’s love, self-sacrifice, and dedication to his beloved Mildred. Through comedy, Lloyd reveals a contrasting tone of war, economics, and fear. A close analysis of Harold’s swing from the clock like a pendulum creates a sense of fear for the audience. Harold uses time to reveal the greater correlation to post-World War I consumer society in America and the importance of finances during that time. The shots that I will be closely examining come from the thrilling finale of the film, and capture the sentiments prevalent throughout it. Harold Lloyd incorporates reality and fiction with a blanket of comedy. Although this correlation is not apparent when first watching the film, my analysis of the last few shots are critical to understanding the time period in which the film was shot. The last few minutes are critical to understanding Harold Lloyd’s artistic taste in filmmaking. His euphemistic approach to strenuous matters allows society to view his art in a different light.
Abyssinia Moges, ’18
English & Creative Writing
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