Be it coincidence or homage or the outright hope that they don’t get caught aping someone else’s movie, filmmakers have been replicating the work of those who have gone before them for some time now. Every now and then we like to stop and point out one of those instances.
Jackie Chan has always been open about the influence of silent film comedians have had on his work. The inspiration of combining the physical pratfalls of the likes of Chaplin or Keaton with his breathtaking action sequences produced a winning combination that allowed his work to transcending the language barrier and make him a worldwide superstar.
For Jackie’s 61st birthday today, let’s take a look at how one classic comic informed one of his classic early films. In his 1983 action flick Project A, the end of one sequence finds Jackie at the top of a church being chased out onto a ledge by gangsters. His desperate attempt to hang onto a clock face certainly recall Lloyd’s own struggles on the outside of a building in his classic 1923 comedy Safety Last!, as you can tell from the video clips of each film below.
Whereas Lloyd used some forced perspective trick photography for the illusion that he was far higher than he was as well as using his stunt double Robert A. Goldman (who was often billed as Lloyd’s assistant director) in some long shots, Chan was really several stories off the ground. And while Lloyd never took a drop like Jackie does, the forced perspective set was built on a roof where there was still the possibility that Lloyd could fall off the facade wall onto a safety mattress and then bounce off that and over the side of the real building, plummeting to his death!