Throughout the film, Sherlock Jr. tinkers with ideas of reality and fiction and the distinction between them. This parallel of narratives gives Keaton the ability to offer a comedic analysis of an individual’s identification with those on screen. The ingenious technique also separates Keaton from other comedians of his time. In the New York Times Article “Phlegmatic Mr. Keaton Is a Stylist as Jester,” Mordaunt Hall says that, “In all Buster Keaton’s pictures there is a rich fund of original situations that are singularly well suited to this phlegmatic comedian.” This definitely fits the narrative structure of Sherlock Jr. The film employs two narratives, one imagined and the other set in the film’s narrative reality. The narratives a...
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...pears to jump through someone to escape, in another he jumps through a window into a moving car. By staging the narrative within a dream like world, Keaton can push the cinematic boundaries further than many comedians before him. Thus, Keaton can perform tricks that amaze audiences while remaining somewhat plausible. His brilliant technique and innovative performance brighten the film and make it that more humorous.
“You cannot compare the successful comedy of today with the one of five years ago” (Los Angeles Times 1922). Sherlock Jr is a highly imaginative and innovative comedy that explores the concept of reality and cinema through experimental filmmaking techniques. Keaton envelops the audience through witty humor and gags without ever being tiresome. The humor in the film creates a spectacle that is not only pleasurable to watch but leaves the audience in awe.
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