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
Buster Keaton doubled for Ford West, the actor playing Gillette, in the scene where the motorcycle he is driving (with Keaton on the handlebars) hits a deep pothole and bucks him off flat on his behind. 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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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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