Sherlock Holmes Jr.
What is the opposite of ”Greed”? The answer is easy to find, just turn the page in the book and you find Sherlock, Jr. It is short (44 minutes), funny, easy, technically innovative and entirely endearing.
In short, Sherlock jr. is everything “Greed” is not.
This is not the Keaton movie usually mentioned as the Keaton favorite and that is actually a shame, because it is in my opinion on par with the other more well-known Keatons like “Our Hospitality” or “The General”.
The first part is only mildly funny. The boy, Keaton, has a lowly and boring job at the cinema and dream of being a great detective. In reality he is shy and timid and afraid to tell his girl that he loves her. He buys her a box of chocolate and go to see her. Unfortunately the local Casanova also wants the girl and come with a bigger box of chocolate. Casanova is a thief and steals the girl’s father’s watch and plant the receipt from the pawn shop in the boy’s pocket. The boy sees his chance to show off his detective skills and start searching everybody, only to have the receipt found in his own pocket. He leaves in disgrace.
Then the movie changes.
Back at the cinema the boy starts the film and fall asleep. In his dream he jumps into the movie. This is really something I have not seen before in an early movie, though Melies would probably have thought of it. It made me think of “The Last Action Hero” only this is 70 years earlier. We are seeing the cinema and the film being shown and in it Keaton is interacting with all that is going on in the movie. The scenes are rapidly changing. He is in the snow, the desert, among lions and so on. It is really well made. Then we are fully in the movie and the boy has become the famous detective Sherlock, Jr.
This is where the film gets really funny. The villain, looking exactly like our friend Casanova, and his ally, the butler (of course), tries to get rid of Sherlock in many devious ways, but Keaton avoid it all in his usual deadpan manner. The pool game is totally hilarious and so is the ensuing motorbike ride when Sherlock’s assistant, the driver, falls of and Keaton sitting on the handlebars drives on unawares nobody is actually driving the bike. This is laughing out loud funny, quintessential Keaton.
Sherlock of course breaks the case and saves the girl and when he wakes up his girlfriend is there and tell him they found out it was not him at all who stole the watch and that they are very sorry.
Sherlock, Jr. is the kind of movie I could take out any day to see, no worries.