The 1920s didn’t just expand the popularity of both cinema and stunt performances, it was also a time of pioneering within the film industry. As technology improved, more ingenious ways to create stunts were developed. The safety for all those involved was greatly improved.
The first film which is credited with using safety devices is ironically enough Safety Last! A silent rom-com from 1923 starring Harold Lloyd. In the films most iconic moment, Lloyd is seen dangling off a clock face, high up on a building. This was achieved a number of different ways. First, was the use of stunt doubles for all the long shots.
Hollywood had started to realise the worth of their stars and were less likely to let them risk their own lives. The other safety features deployed included placing a mattress on a platform under the performer, as well as heavily padding the performers under their clothes. They also utilised safety harnesses which were attached to the buildings via strong wires.
This heralded in a new age of cinema, and a new era for stunts. With new safety techniques and film trickery, cinema would no longer be held back by practical capabilities, but could now broaden its imagination. The possibilities were endless.