If ever a show biz professional could be trusted to layer modern cuts over a silent film classic, Thomas Golubic might come close. The music supervisor and DJ has worked on everything from “Breaking Bad” and “The Walking Dead” to “Six Feet Under,” where he used Sia’s “Breathe Me” to stunning effect, and soon in Los Angeles he’ll be premiering a brand new take on one of Harold Lloyd’s most iconic works.
This weekend at AFI Fest, the 1923 Lloyd classic “Safety Last!” screens in a 4K restoration, and will be accompanied by a soundtrack curated by Golubic with live sound effects by Mocean Worker. An original score over older films is not at all unprecedented —Giorgio Moroder, Air, and Nicholas Jaar have all tried their hand as such— but Golubic’s presentation is more in line with unexpected mashups like Pink Floyd with “The Wizard of Oz” and Radiohead’s “Kid A” with the 1922 version of “Nosferatu.”
In his latest work from his SYNCHRONIZE “re-score” project, Golubic will incorporate music from The Avalanches, James Brown, Lemon Jelly and many more into the film starring Lloyd as a small town striver trying to succeed in the big city. Culminating in his iconic climb up the “Devore Dept. Store” and onto the tip of a clock, the film stands alongside “The Freshman” and “The Kid Brother” as the director/performer’s best.
Suzanne Lloyd, his granddaughter and trustee to his massive library of films, says that it’s clear the new context for “Safety Last!” is much in line with her grandfather’s embrace of new technology and culture.
“He was a great lover of music, and had a huge collection at Greenacres [Lloyd’s Beverly Hills estate, where Suzanne lived],” she explained. “He took me to see The Beatles when they played the Hollywood Bowl, and later The Rolling Stones too. He would make me listen to some Chopin or Mozart though, for ‘balance’, he said.”
Suzanne has also experimented elsewhere with “Safety Last!” and 3D —a format that Lloyd lobbied for early on— but if you’re in the mood to see how Beastie Boys could swap with Carl Davis’ original score for a night, Golubic’s take on the film should make for a worthy visit.
“Safety Last!” screens at AFI FEST on Saturday, Nov. 7th. For more information and free tickets visit afifest.com.