Amongst the silent comedians, Lloyd was the most resolutely modern, or at least grappled the most resolutely with the modern world. Safety Last!, with its department store setting and skyscraper-climbing antics, is as up-to-date a dispatch from 1923 as you will ever find, its zeitgeist jazzily accentuated by Carl Davis’ score. The great care that Lloyd, and now his granddaughter Suzanne, have always taken with his film legacy help accentuate that freshness even further: in its recently created digital form, the film looks as good as new.
Marc Taddei conducts the scores for both films. A popular guest conductor throughout Australasia, Marc is currently Music Director of Orchestra Wellington and the Vallejo Symphony in California. His many Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra Live Cinema engagements have included an exhilarating The Wind in 2006, an eerily romantic Nosferatu in 2011 and Carl Davis’ orchestration of Chaplin’s score for The Kid last year.
Music for silent films has been an enduring strand of the prolific Carl Davis’ activities. His 1980 score for Abel Gance’s Napoleon triggered an extraordinary revival of interest in silent film, and his oeuvre of more than 50 scores for this medium, including Flesh and the Devil, Ben-Hur, The Thief of Baghdad, Greed, Intolerance and The General, has brought him international acclaim.
Directors: Fred C. Newmeyer, Sam Taylor
Screenplay: Hal Roach, Sam Taylor, Tim Whelan, Harold Lloyd
Photography: Walter Lundin
Editor: T.J. Crizer
With: Harold Lloyd (the boy), Mildred Davis (the girl), Bill Strother (the pal), Noah Young (the law), Westcott B. Clarke (the floorwalker)