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Film 50: History of Cinema

Wednesday, January 21, 2015
3:10 p.m. Introduction to Course, plus Sherlock Jr.
Buster Keaton (US, 1924)

Lecture/Emily Carpenter
Live Music/Judith Rosenberg on piano

Sherlock Jr. is Keaton's most enduring commentary on the cinema, the beautiful machine that has the power to make artists of us all. Buster plays a projectionist who dreams his way onto the screen and into a movie in which he resolves the conflicts of his own life. As early as 1925 Sherlock Jr. was recognized by René Clair for its Pirandello-like dramatic structure, and it was much admired by the French Surrealists. The film is equally impressive for Keaton's brilliantly modulated acrobatics—offscreen, the hapless hero hoists himself on his own banana peel, but on, he can ride on the handlebars of a driverless motorcycle, make a boat out of a car, and perform any number of cinematic miracles without special effects.

—Judy Bloch

• Written by Clyde Bruckman, Joseph Mitchell, Jean Havez. Photographed by Elgin Lessley, Byron Houck. With Keaton, Kathryn McGuire, Joe Keaton, Ward Crane. (45 mins, Silent, B&W, 35mm, From Cohen Film Collection)