Safety Last! (1923)

Directed by Fred C. Newmeyer and Sam Taylor

When a store clerk organizes a contest to climb the outside of a tall building, circumstances force him to make the perilous climb himself.

The best gag is not the famous clock scene, but when they hide from the landlady by getting into their coats and hanging themselves on the coat-rack.

Credit to Ed Park for noting that the literal high-point of this film is when Harold actually becomes a substitute for the American flag:

[…] the “typical American boy” turns into a parody of the Stars and Stripes—a flag, perhaps, commemorating all those who never succeeded in climbing their way to the top.