If you haven’t seen it, or you fell asleep in film class while this classic played on the screen, “Sherlock Jr” is a brilliant silent comedy you should definitely make time for.
In this feature, directed by and starring Buster Keaton, a young movie projectionist (Keaton) is also studying to become a detective. When his girlfriend’s father is robbed, the projectionist is framed for the crime. The boy tests his amateur detective skills to capture the thief. However, he’s left empty-handed. After falling asleep on the job, his dream self wakes up as the great Sherlock Jr. He maneuvers his way through several booby traps to solve a case and get the girl. In the end, he manages both.
This film is one of the best silent films of the 1920s. The gags are genius. Keaton, as a director, pulled off brilliant technical filmmaking, including making himself disappear after being zipped into a small suitcase. Buster Keaton took his acting seriously as well. He is said to have hired a professional pool player to teach him the game of billiards before shooting the movie. It worked. The scene in which Sherlock Jr. is playing pool with the butler is hilarious. The film is a true comedy genius.