Directed by: Buster Keaton
Starring: Buster Keaton, Kathryn McGuire, Joe Keaton
This is actually the first Buster Keaton movie I’ve ever seen, and I gotta say that I just loved it. Not only is it a great example of an excellent physical comedian at his prime, there are some damn amazing special effects in it, which aren’t just there for the sake of being cool, but are integral parts to many of the gags. Yeah, I’m impressed. It happens less than I’d like.
Keaton plays a penniless janitor at a movie studio who wants to be a detective. In real life, he’s not very good at it, and actually manages to take the blame for the first theft he tries to solve. Depressed, he falls asleep at the theater and has a dream where he walks into the movie screen and becomes the greatest detective in the world, Sherlock Jr., who easily solves a case of a stolen pearl necklace from some bad guys (who are his rivals for the girl he’s courting in real life) and gets the girl in the end.
Like I said, the physical comedy is excellent, seemingly effortless on Keaton’s part. There’s also the part where he walks into the movie screen and the scenes keep changing behind him, causing him to fall over in a number of comedic ways. Obviously that description doesn’t give it justice, but it’s a very technically impressive sequence. There was also a bit where he jumps through a man that I actually had to rewind because it wasn’t obvious how he did it to me immediately. Tricked by a silent film effect, how embarrassing. Or awesome, I guess, depending on how you look at it.