Sherlock Jr. (Buster Keaton, the U.S, 1924) depicts a cinema projectionist and janitor who’s studying and dreaming about becoming a detective like Sherlock Holmes. The main character, Sherlock Jr. falls in love with a beautiful girl but another man shows up as his competition while he’s trying to win the girl’s heart. His rival intrudes on one of Sherlock Jr.’s dates with the girl and makes the girl’s father think that Sherlock stole a watch. Feeling tired and depressed at work, Sherlock falls asleep during showing of Hearts and Pearls, and dreams of his girlfriend as the heroine, and his rival as the thief who steals the pearls. Sherlock himself becomes a detective to solve the case. Though short compared to modern feature films, this 44-minutes film utilizes a variety of filming techniques. For example, in one scene Buster uses continuity editing, a major technique Buster uses throughout his movie, to create position match, in which Sherlock walks directly into the big screen and becomes a part of that movie. Next a chain of scenes positions the actor in a series of unrelated scenarios yet which appears seamlessly connected.
In the concluding scene of Sherlock Jr., a medium shot of the actor swimming in his dream dissolves back to the projection room where Sherlock continues swimming moves exemplify movement match technique in continuity editing. An eye line match then converts audience’s attention to the story taking place on the big screen, anticipating the next series of moves about to happen to the male and female characters. A cross-cut back to Sherlock demonstrates director’s usage of the window as a frame as if the actor was starring in a movie. The lighting inside the window is obviously high-key compared to the area around the frame to create a focus for audience to see what’s happening within the frame. Another cross-cut reveals a medium shot of the actress talking to someone downstairs to find Sherlock, her boyfriend. The camera follows the...
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