Sherlock Jr.

11:14 AM

I confess I thought it was pretentious to say you liked Buster Keaton. I mean, it is rare enough to like silent movies, imagine liking silent movies that are not Chaplin’s.

After watching one of Keaton’s movies I have to reconsider and proclaim myself to be a big fan of him. The more I hear about his life, the more I wish I were his friend. Or at least I wished I were around when he released his movies, as opposed to being around when they released Avatar.

The first Keaton movie I saw was Sherlock Jr. I watch it as a part of an assignment for a “Literature and Cinema” class. For this same class, I had previously watched Chaplin’s City Lights, ModernTimes and The Pawn Shop. Chaplin fans forgive me, but I hated every single one of them. 

Firstly, because that silly little smile of his never really convinced or touched me. So, one of the first things that I liked about Keaton was his motionless, dead serious face. 

Secondly and much more importantly, it’s just like in that song by The Smiths, you know: “because the music they constantly play says nothing to me about my life”. As far as I know, Chaplin movies have the same message, they don’t allow different levels of interpretation. While a movie like Sherlock Jr., for example, is pretty much the story of my life.

In Sherlock Jr., Keaton’s character works at a movie theater and wants to be a detective. When he faces difficulties in his love life he turns to movies to figure out what to do. He actually copies the way things are done in movies in his own life. Now, to what level do we do the same thing? In what ways is that positive or negative? All these questions are raised while we are entertained in this hilarious comedy.

To make a long post short, Keaton is the best. Stay tuned because next week I’ll do a post on cool facts about him to make you even more in love with him.

Have you seen Sherlock Jr.? Chaplin, Keaton or both?

PS: You can watch the whole movie on YouTube.

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  1. Hola, PaulaB!!
    Like Helene Hanff, I can say: COMRADE!!! One more person don't like Chaplin! I really don't like that happy-hobo-thing (Renato Aragão copied it to the bone). I think I've watched Buster Keaton's short movies when TV Globo used to show Comedy Capers (lots of silent two-reels).

  2. I actually had to google Helene Hanff - shame on me. I know the movie, but didn't remember the name of the character. I love Anne Bancroft portraying her, and also love writing letters, so definitely Comrade! ;)
    (Buster Keaton rules! His shorts are so funny.)

  3. Great review, Paula.

    I watched Sherlock Jr. recently and was blown away by Buster's incredible talents. The chase scene itself was worth the entire movie.


  4. Thanks, I'm glad you liked the movie, it's truly amazing. I imagine what it must have been like watching it when it came out. xx

  5. The greatest, truest definition of the magic of Buster Keaton, is that we can read as introduction in "The General":
    "In the mechanized world of today he moves about like an inhabitant of another planet, gazing with a look of bewilderment at a nightmare reality"
    I had appreciated the sarcasm of some Chaplin's movie, some biting irony like what is in the opening scene of "Modern times", for example... but if I had to teach to someone what is magic, I would tell to him to watch Keaton, his eyed, his actions... he seems to me like he fall down from a child's dream. I had recently discovered Buster, too, but I too fell in love with him.


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