2023 will see the centenary of Harold Lloyd’s iconic silent-movie romantic-comedy masterpiece Safety Last! Inspired by the 'human fly' phenomenon of the time when men climbed skyscrapers unaided as publicity stunts, Lloyd plays the Boy, who comes to the big city and wins his fortune and his girl. It contains one of the most striking shots in cinematic history, when Lloyd’s character dangles precariously from a clockface above the New York City traffic.
Screenings of Safety Last! are frequently accompanied by Carl Davis’ score for the film. The 74-minute score has received over one hundred performances worldwide, including at the Komische Oper (Berlin), Symphony Hall (Birmingham), the Teatro Verdi (Florence), BOZAR (Brussels), the Royal Concert Hall (Glasgow), and has been broadcast on the UK’s Channel Four. It has previously been paired in performance with Davis' score for other Harold Lloyd classic An Eastern Westerner,
Davis’ 22-player orchestration is based on the line-up of the Paul Whiteman Band and is inspired by the popular music of the Twenties; it is one over fifty silent movies Davis has scored, which include Douglas Fairbanks’ The Thief of Baghdad, Chaplin’s The Adventurer, and Abel Gance’s epic Napoleon.
In February this year Davis returned to Luxembourg to conduct long-time Davis collaborators the Orchestre Philharmonique du Luxembourg in Safety Last! On 19 August the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, conducted by Philippe Béran, will perform Davis’ score in an outdoor concert as part of the Festival Genève-Plage.