When I was in fifth grade, my teacher would play silent comedy movies as a treat. Yes, I was the weird kid that loved them. So when I found there was a treasure trove of silent movies on Netflix I just had to watch. The first one is Sherlock Jr. Now this really has nothing to do with Sherlock Holmes other than the main character, the projectionist (Buster Keaton) is reading up on how to be a detective. He’s also in love with a girl and is trying to save enough money to woo her with a big box of candy. In the end he can only afford a medium sized box but changes the price on it to make it seem more expensive. When he arrives at his girl’s house, he finds she is already being pursued by a wealthier suitor. While everyone is there the girl’s father finds his pocket watch stolen. Our projectionist snaps into action becoming Sherlock Jr., employing all the techniques that he’s been reading about to solve the case. Unfortunately, he soon finds out that he’s the one who has been framed for the robbery, is kicked out of the house, and loses his girl. Undaunted, Sherlock Jr. continues the case to find the true thief and restore his reputation and love life.
If you’ve never watched silent films this is a good place to start. It’s only 45 minutes and has some pretty good action, comedy, and fantasy sequences. Buster Keaton was nicknamed “The Great Stone Face” and his neutral expression in the midst of comedy around him makes some things even funnier. Below is the motorcycle chase scene from Sherlock Jr. to whet your appetite.