Sherlock Jr. (1924)

dir. Buster Keaton. A down on his luck projectionist dreams about being a famous detective, as he solves the crimes and defeats the villains he cannot in real life, all the while getting into thrilling chases, and outwitting devilish crooks. Delightful. The comedy and action scenes stand up so well, and the pacing is relentless and perfect. It’s easy to see why gifted physical filmmakers like Jackie Chan were so inspired by Keaton’s films, especially this one, with the chase scenes and stunts truly exciting and filled with danger. The oldest example I am aware of with a film within a film, and certainly the most elegant example. There is one very impressive scene where through perfect continuity and editing, Keaton appears to instantly transport from location to location. You cand raw a squiggly but connected line between this comedy, and the ocean of comedic fake magic videos on video platforms such as the defunct Vine and the currently popular TikTok. 

By Nicholas Hudson-Ellis

Co-Founder & Film Programs Manager of Bangkok Screening Room.

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