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
In one scene at a train station, Buster Keaton was hanging off of a tube connected to a water basin. The water poured out and washed him on to the track, fracturing his neck nearly to the point of breaking it. This footage appears in the released film. Keaton suffered from blinding migraines for years after making this movie and was unaware of the reason, until a doctor diagnosed him in the 1930s. 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 »
[to Sherlock Jr. about a man locked in a tight cage]
That's a detective. When he's dead I'll put you in there.
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Not only is this Buster Keaton's best film, but it is among the greatest achievements in the history of cinema, period. While it is not a feature-length film--and thus barred from most critics' lists of great films--it invented just about every single basic special effect known to movies (except for morphing). The story itself, about a film projectionist who desires to become part of the movies, and then does, by walking right onto the screen, made palpable the desire that we all have to be in the movies: To get the girl, to be an action hero, to outsmart the bad guys. Keaton invented meta-cinema before anyone even had a phrase for it.
This movie has entered our dreams.
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