Among the many highlights of AFI FEST 2015 presented by Audi is the Youth and Family Programming section, which brings unique films and events to audiences of all ages and extends AFI’s educational mission to build passion for the art form by cultivating young movie fans and future film artists.
This weekend’s Youth and Family presentation of Harold Lloyd’s 1923 silent classic SAFETY LAST! will give younger audiences a perfect introduction to the legendary director/actor and his endearingly death-defying brand of comedy.
The screening, happening at the El Capitan Theatre this Saturday, November 7, will be accompanied by an exciting live DJ re-score from Thomas Golubić, a Grammy-nominated music supervisor and former KCRW DJ whose impressive credits include BREAKING BAD, THE WALKING DEAD and SIX FEET UNDER. His SAFETY LAST! re-score will include live instruments and samples by Mocean Worker, and songs by The Avalanches, the Beastie Boys, James Brown and Lemon Jelly, among others.
This one-of-a-kind film experience is part of the efforts of Lloyd’s granddaughter, Suzanne Lloyd, to put him “in different environments, for younger people and to elevate him into the mainstream so that he’s not just pigeonholed into the silent theater,” as she told AFI.
“My grandfather was very forward-minded about having music with his films and not just showing them with an organ. He wasn’t wild about showing his films with a piano in any way, either. He really believed that a music score could really bring the whole thing to life.”
In SAFETY LAST!, which holds a place on AFI’S 100 Years…100 Thrills list, Harold Lloyd plays a small–town bumpkin haplessly trying to get by in the big city. When he finds a job as a department store clerk, he brainstorms a breathless publicity stunt to draw attention to the store.
“People who haven’t seen SAFETY LAST! are in for a treat because, while getting younger people into see a silent movie sometimes is very hard, Harold’s persona is so modern,” said Suzanne Lloyd, who set up the Harold Lloyd Foundation in her grandfather’s honor after he died in 1971.
“He does everything that a modern person would do. He’s a regular fellow who is doing regular things in real life,” which is why the film pairs so well with the re-score by Thomas Golubić, with whom she has collaborated for over a decade. She said that Golubić, who has re-scored films at the Sundance Film Festival and the Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival, likes “taking Harold out into different environments and spreading a wider net on who he is.”
Lloyd said that many think of her grandfather as a “thrill comedian who did amazing physical stunts,” including the iconic moment of SAFETY LAST! in which he clings desperately to the hands of a city clock atop a skyscraper. But “he was also the blueprint of romantic comedies,” such as BRINGING UP BABY directed by Howard Hawks, who tapped Lloyd to coach the film’s star Cary Grant.
“The other thing about Harold Lloyd is that he played people that were originally on the streets. He played the taxi cab driver; the guy who flipped ice cream at the malt shop; the clerk in the store; he was the guy who saved the transportation line in SPEEDY for the girl he loved,” said Lloyd. “He’s the original everyman, and the first person who ever put a character into a comedian — and having somebody as talented as Thomas Golubić underlay the music is a great way of moving him around. I think my grandfather would be really pleased with reaching a younger audience at AFI FEST.”
SAFETY LAST! plays Saturday, November 7 at 5:00 p.m. as part of AFI FEST 2015’s Youth and Family Programming. Free tickets are available online here.