Review: Sherlock Jr (1924 movie)

Theater projectionist and handyman Buster Keaton, depressed after being framed by a romantic rival for stealing his girlfriend’s father’s pocket watch, falls asleep on the job and dreams himself into the film as a suave detective named Sherlock Jr. The main characters in the framing story show up in the dream as well, the rival suitor as the villain, the theater manager as Sherlock Jr’s assistant, and so on. Funny and inventive and full of remarkable special effects, it’s immense fun in only 45 minutes.

Sherlock Jr’s assistant is named Gillette, and despite the razor jokes, he was apparently named after actor William Gillette, the first to play Sherlock Holmes on stage. In the shot in which Gillette falls off his motorcycle, he’s actually being played by a stunt double—Buster Keaton himself.

I another bit involving a railroad water tower Keaton nearly broke his neck, and though he didn’t realize how badly he’d been injured at the time, he experienced severe headaches for many years as a result.

By the way, the actor who portrays the girlfriend’s father is Vaudeville star Joe Keaton, Buster’s own father.

The film is out of copyright, so you can watch it here:

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