In a futuristic city sharply divided between the working class and the city planners, the son of the city's mastermind falls in love with a working class prophet who predicts the coming of a savior to mediate their differences.
A boy leaves his small country town and heads to the big city to get a job. As soon as he makes it big his sweetheart will join him and marry him. His enthusiasm to get ahead leads to some interesting adventures.
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 2005, Time magazine named Sherlock Jr. as one of the All-Time 100 Movies. 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 »
Footage of laughter, romance and technical audaciousness
Am somebody who likes humour with wit and sophistication when it comes to comedy (that's why so many pre-1970 comedy appeals a lot to me), while appreciating comedies with a broader style providing it doesn't become too vulgar and the risque kind. Have found though that in recent years that there has been those that are very juvenile, crude and even puerile to the point of offensiveness, which is as one may have guessed appeals to me far less.
There are many fine examples of silent film comedy, with Charlie Chaplin and Laurel and Hardy though in both cases it wasn't the case of finding their feet immediately. In both cases the early stuff was fairly hit and miss, but when they did settle their best work was classic. And of course Buster Keaton, who didn't transition as well or smoothly into the sound era (whereas Chaplin made some of his best work in it) but when he was in his prime there was nobody back then, when it came to comedy, more daring in terms of the jaw-dropping stunt-work, or who was able to make deadpan funny and expressive, and actually it is still like that now. Keaton wasn't nicknamed "The Great Stone Face" for nothing, and in my mind he was every bit as funny and easy to like as Chaplin and Laurel and Hardy, while also being a bigger risk taker, having bolder material physically and his films being technically in his prime period superior. The reasons for the comparisons being because they were all geniuses in comedy, who started their careers around the same time, a lot of the comedy was physical rather than verbal and their prime periods were in roughly the same time period.
'Sherlock Jr' is another one of Keaton's finest, an achievement in pretty much every way. On a technical level, it is one of his most audacious and best-looking along with the slightly more ground-breaking on this front 'The General'. Again, it is beautifully shot and designed and the effects and how they're used stand out, it should be used as an example of how to have effects that still look good and like a lot of effort and care went into them and also use them properly, rather than overusing and abusing them to gratuitous effect with varied at best success as seen frequently now. Films today should learn from this film and the best of Keaton, they really are an example to all in many senses. The direction keeps things moving with control, progressing gradually and always assuredly, and balances everything beautifully.
When it comes to the humour, 'Sherlock Jr' is one of Keaton's funniest and most inventive, chockful of hilarious moments timed to absolute perfection. While none of the stunts are quite on the same level of awe-inspiring as for example the climax of 'Steamboat Bill, Jr', they are still incredibly daring. Also found myself surprisingly educated, which makes this film one of Keaton's more interesting films, in learning the trade tricks in editing and effects and some of the most genius use of back projection (often done cheaply and obviously, but inventively done here).
Like 'The General' and 'Steamboat Bill, Jr' it is really great to have a story with brains, heart and logic, treating the audience with respect and there is never any trouble following it. In terms of structure it stands out too when it comes to the story elements in Keaton's films and is one of the most interesting. The romantic element that features heavily here is done with more charm and pathos than most comedy when balanced with romance, without being too sentimental or soap-operatic, never does it slow the film down either. As to be expected, Keaton as to be expected is superb here, not only is his comic timing on point but he once again provides a character that's endearing and worth rooting for. His physicality and how he copes with the stunts is awe-inspiring and he is one of not many to make deadpan interesting and entertaining because he still makes it very expressive and nuanced. Don't overlook the rest of the cast though, they may not have as much to do but they are also amusing and charming.
In summary, one of the Keaton essentials. 10/10
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