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 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
Following his "entrance" into the "movie within a movie," the scenery changes around Buster Keaton very quickly, as if the movie is changing scenes with quick edits (he suddenly finds himself on a crowded city street, in the jungle confronted by lions, on a rock in the middle of the ocean, etc.). Keaton later recalled that his cameraman, Byron Houck, had used surveying instruments to position himself and the camera at the exact correct distances and positions to give the illusion of continuity as the scenes changed. 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 »
[as Sherlock Jr., riding on the handlebars of a motorcycle, unaware the driver fell off]
Be careful or one of us will get hurt.
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In 1999, Kino Video distributed a 45-minute version of this film, with a music score composed by and performed by the Club Foot Orchestra. See more »
Fantastic filmmaking from one of the world's greatest
Sherlock, Jr. arguably exceeds The General as Buster Keaton's greatest achievement -- it is certainly more magical in its use of extraordinary special effects and unconventionally humorous situations. Movies about movies are a dime a dozen, but rather difficult to do well. Keaton's brilliant structuring of the story -- a fantastic treat for audiences when his pathetic projectionist becomes the genius detective through a literal entering of the movie screen -- has been imitated dozens of times, but I always come back to this unsurpassable rendering. Watching Keaton play the scene where he studies how to go about kissing his best girl by peeking at a movie version of the same event always reduces me to simultaneous jags of tears and laughter.
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