A meek and mild projectionist, who also cleans up after screenings, would like nothing better than to be a private detective. He becomes engaged to a pretty girl but a ladies man known as the Sheik vies for her affection. He gets rid of the projectionist by stealing a pocket watch belonging to the girl's father - which he pawns to buy her an expensive box of candy. He then slips the pawn ticket into the projectionist's pocket and subsequently is found by the police. He doesn't have much luck but in his dreams, he the debonair and renowned detective Sherlock Jr. who faces danger and solves the crime. In real life, the girl solves crimes quickly. Written by
A title card in "Hearts and Pearls", the film within the film during which Buster Keaton falls asleep, informs us that it was produced by the "Veronal Film Company" - an appropriate name, since Veronal was the first barbiturate sleeping pill ever marketed. See more »
After Sherlock Jr spins the fence around placing his pursuers behind it, he puts a crossbar across the gate to stop them coming back. In the next shot as he leaves the alley, the crossbar is no longer visible on the fence. See more »
It's almost impossible to describe the astounding creativity of "Sherlock, Jr". Even for Buster Keaton, this is a tremendous display of comedic and fantasy material. What's so remarkable is not so much any particularly hilarious gag or gags, as the never-ending stream of amazing and entertaining sights - coming faster and faster as the film proceeds - that seem so off-hand and effortlessly inventive, but that must have involved many hours of painstaking work to perfect. The film vs. reality theme is also highly suggestive, and makes this great movie one of the most completely satisfying efforts by Keaton or anyone else.
The film opens slowly and allows the pace to build gradually. Buster operates the movie projector at a theater, while trying to study on his own to be a detective. He is involved in a real-life mystery that involves his girlfriend's family, and which turns out badly for him. He retreats into the fantasy world of a picture showing at his theater, and from then on you just have to see it to appreciate it. The creative comedy, the technical skill, and the subtly expressed themes are all remarkable.
This is a great experience not to be missed.
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