“Sherlock Jr.” (1924)
Starring: Buster Keaton
Plot: A film projectionist longs to be a detective, and puts his meagre skills to work when he is framed by a rival for stealing his girlfriend’s father’s pocketwatch.
Run Time: 44 minutes
In Sherlock Jr., Keaton puts on an Oscar worthy performance without the benefit of sound (and 5 years before the Oscar awards were even created!) By the end of the film, Buster’s acting transcends into art. With sci-fi undertones and whodunit overtones, the film is brilliantly imaginative.
The soundtrack provided on the Netflix version is quite good, but silent films offer you a unique movie-watching opportunity that I don’t suggest you pass up: the ability to score the film yourself. Open iTunes, create a 44 minute playlist then start your movie and music at the same time. You will have dictated the pulse of the movie. I’ve watched Keaton with ambient bands like Do Make Say Think and I’ve watched Keaton with the likes of Kanye West. You may have to go back to the drawing board a few minutes into your viewing but you’ll eventually figure out a pace you enjoy.
October 19th 2008. That’s the day I saw Buster Keaton’s Sherlock Jr. for the very first time. As I watched the film unfold, I came to realize something: this was the film I was trying to make. I no longer aspired to be Spielberg, Zemeckis or Nolan. I wanted to be Buster Keaton. Keaton’s influence on me is best exemplified in my one man film trilogy Moving to the Moon!