I took Olly, 5 and Billie, 4, to The Barbican‘s Family Film Club – a sort of middle class mirror image of the Saturday Morning Cinema of your youth. We watched Harold Lloyd’s Safety Last and sat on the nicely-carpeted lobby floor to make wobbly clock towers from card and pipe cleaners in a friendly workshop beforehand.
Islington dutifully decamped to the Barbican for the occasion – it was wall-to-wall Jocastas, Luciens and Bellas in gorgeous ethnic knits. In fact, I reckon it would have made a lovely opening scene for the next Richard Curtis Rom-Com (University-educated single Mum working in art gallery/charity/library catches the eye of eccentric, widowed Antiquarian bookseller/vintage Bentley restorer while crafting pointless cardboard gewgaws for ungrateful, distracted children).
Anyway, Safety Last is brilliant and the awesome final ascent of the ‘Burton Building’ produced exactly the seat-clutching, bouncing-up-and-down hysteria it probably did in 1923 (did you know that Lloyd lost one hand in an on-set accident six years before Safety Last was made and produced more than a hundred films with a clever prosthetic replacement? Me neither. How did he hang on to that clock exactly?).
I was really pleased that the kids were able to slot this eighty year-old, silent, black & white comedy easily into their movie landscape alongside Elf and Brother Bear and the Thornberries (they took the poor man playing the piano at the front totally for granted – do they think there’s always a piano player?). Pictures are from the ABC Minors Saturday Morning Cinema Club I attended as a kid.