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Sherlock Jr.

One of the genuine legends of film history. While it's not as tragic as Erich von Stroheim's Greed, Sherlock Jr. is an experience that simply must be seen to be believed. Buster Keaton's mastery of physical comedy reached its height with this exercise in surrealism that is pure joy from beginning to end. It's only forty minutes long and there's not much of a plot to it – Keaton plays a projectionist at a movie theater who wants to be a detective, but stumbles at his first attempt to solve a crime. He falls asleep in the movie theater, and his dream-self walks into the movie and takes part in an comedy adventure consisting of stuntwork so incredible, it made my jaw drop when I saw it for the first time. Most of the stunts here are filmed live, and Keaton uses masterful editing to bring them all together. One scene here, where he falls from a water tower onto a railroad track, actually broke his neck in real life – but he didn't even realize it until a physical examination several years later!

Silent movies are one of the lost treasures of American culture… so few people see them nowadays, thanks to Hollywood's marketing of the films of TODAY, to the point where many people refuse to admit that anything made before Star Wars is any good. Humbug! Watch a couple of films starring the incomparable Buster Keaton, and you'll know where Jackie Chan got all of his ideas. Science fiction and horror filmmakers today are STILL paying homage to Nosferatu and Metropolis. (Where do you think the ideas for the cityscapes of Blade Runner came from?) In addition to this Web page, the films of the Silent Era are being discussed on alt.movies.silent.

As a tribute to Buster Keaton, one of the screen's greatest comedians, I proudly present an image of a promotional poster for ''The General'', Buster's most famous film.

See Also: The Silent Movie Page