Sherlock Jr. (1924)


Buster Keaton’s artistic breakthrough remains to this day absolutely the funniest film ever made. Buster plays a movie theater projectionist who is falsely accused of stealing a gold watch from his girlfriend’s family and banished from her home. Keaton immediately hops on the trail of the rival suitor who framed him. Eventually, he falls asleep while projecting a movie, and winds up stepping into the screen itself in a dream state(in a casually brilliant sequence of tricky optical effects that people still talk about), where he imagines himself to be the dapper star of a film about Sherlock Jr., the world’s second greatest detective. Unbelievable stunts (Keaton did his own, as always) and complicated gags ensue, moving this 45-minute film along at a fever pitch. You'll likely be floored by Keaton's pool game if nothing else (though one amazing shot is missing from Kino Video's recent reissue). Chuck Jones, Woody Allen, Wes Craven, Jackie Chan, and Steven Spielberg are among the filmmakers who have paid explicit homage to Keaton’s irrestible shenanigans, and his remain perhaps the most accessible of all silent movies.
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Reviews by Bryant Frazer