Review of 'Sherlock Jr + The Cameraman'

Lillian Henley


As part of the “Cinema Matters: Industrial Light and Magic” series this was two of the best of Buster Keaton's films “Sherlock Jr.” (directed by Buster Keaton) and “The Cameraman” (directed by Edward Sedgwick) with live piano accompaniment by Lillian Henley. This event was very well attended, pretty much a sell out with an enthusiastic crowd with a number of young people who seemed to really enjoy a bit of old-time film entertainment.

“Sherlock Jr” (US 1924, 44 minutes) is the story of a cinema projectionist and aspiring detective who gets framed for a theft so has to prove his innocence and win the girl. There are a couple of standout action sequences particularly where the butler and bad guy use various booby-traps to try to silence the budding detective including an exploding billiard ball, poison and a falling axe. Another amazing sequence sees Keaton on the handlebars of a driver-less motorcycle.

“The Cameraman” (US 1928, 69 minutes) is the story of a “tin type” photographer barely scraping by on the streets of the city whose heart is captured by a young girl working at MGM with their newsreels. They go on a date to the local public swimming pool where a number of hilarious mishaps happen including Keaton sharing a crowded changing cubicle with a rather large gentleman, taking a tumble off the diving board and finally losing his swimming trunks. The photographer acquires a cheap movie camera to attempt to woo his love by shooting gang warfare in Chinatown. He is crushed when delivering the footage of the battle to find that the camera is empty…Will he be able to prove his love and get the girl?

Both of these are Keaton at his best. Amazing stunts in fantastic action sequences. It is no surprise that Keaton was injured so often. Henley's musical accompaniment was perfectly timed and blended seamlessly into the action on the screen. Wonderful and a taste of a bygone age.


Review Date: 2017-03-05

Barbican Centre

Location: London (England)

Address: Silk St, London EC2Y 8DS, UK

Public Transport: TUBE Barbican TUBE Moorgate NRLOGO Moorgate

Telephone: +44 (0) 20 7638 8891


The Barbican Centre is in the middle of the brutalist Barbican housing complex. The centre is a mixed-use arts venue with theatres, cinemas (in the basement), galleries and library as well as dining facility (both cafe, buffet and fine). The facilities are quite good and there is always something going on.

Regardless of how you get here you will probably end up walking through the Barbican so watch for the signs directing you to the Barbican Centre itself as the complex is quite large.