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
For the sequence in which Buster Keaton's "dream-self" enters the "movie within a movie," Keaton employed the power of suggestion. He shot an actual movie featuring Ward Crane and Kathryn McGuire in a living room setting. As the sequence begins, the movie is playing on the theater movie screen. The film cuts back and forth between Buster sleeping in the projection booth, and his "dream-self" climbing on stage as the movie is showing. In the scene where Buster's "dream-self" steps through the movie screen and into the movie, the living room setting was re-created on the theater stage, and a large hole was cut in the movie screen for Keaton to step through. The actors were placed in the living room setting, creating the illusion that Buster stepped inside the movie screen to join them. 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 »
nobody has ever done it better, maybe even as well, as Buster
There ought to be a theater that shows nothing but perfectly preserved prints of the silent comedies of Buster Keaton, Charlie Chaplin, Harold Lloyd, and Harry Langdon. There ought to be a lot of things, I guess. But anyone who thinks that silent film is nothing more than a crude and unskilled ancestor of today's motion picture need only spend some time on these great comedies to realize that, in this genre at least, the peak was reached in the 20s. Yes, there are funny movies with dialogue, but the humor is generally IN the dialogue...nobody--not the Marx Brothers, or W.C. Fields, or Abbot and Costello or the Three Stooges and nobody since--has achieved the sublime mastery of physical comedy these geniuses did. And the best of them all for pure comedy, to my mind, is Keaton. And the best of his movies is Sherlock, Jr. The dream sequence in which he becomes an actor in the film he's projecting is astonishing; the way in which this movie is a sort of window into a different and appealing age is charming--and the ending of this movie takes the breath away. Keaton made some of the great endings in film, I think. Check out "College" some time--just for the last minute or so. If you ever have the chance to see this film in a good print at the right speed with appropriate music, and you don't take that opportunity, shame shame shame. This is one I'd like to own.
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