Comedy director Leo McCarey, recalling the freewheeling days of making slapstick comedies, said, “All of us tried to steal each other’s gagmen. But we had no luck with Keaton, because he thought up his best gags himself and we couldn’t steal him!” The more adventurous ideas called for dangerous stunts, performed by Keaton at great physical risk. In his own right, Buster Keaton was an amazing acrobat and stuntman. It’s interesting that the majority of the working stuntmen of this era, did so as comedians. This film is arguably Keaton’s best example of his work overall as a stunt performer.
Harvey Parry, addressing the rumors that Buster Keaton used stunt doubles rather than doing the stunts himself said, “To my knowledge, [he] never had a double. I’ve heard a couple of fellows say they doubled him, but I have never seen this happen. This man was a very clever acrobat . . . I don’t think I could have done [stunts] the way he wanted them. His fall was a different fall. He didn’t just slip and fall down. He’d do a lot of things before he fell down. That’s the way Buster was. You can’t double a guy like that.”
Sherlock Jr. was directed by Buster Keaton for Buster Keaton Productions, he did it all. I will be straightforward and say that I’ve always liked Buster and think that Steamboat Bill Jr. and The General are fantastic and has some really great sequences, but the motorbike sequence in Sherlock Jr. is just unbelievable. It’s my favorite sequence in all of his films and the first time I saw it, my eyes just popped out of my head. It’s amazing what he was able to do back then, but just imagine anyone attempting to recreate this today. It simply couldn’t be done without CGI and special effects. It’s just amazing.
Things to look up (click on item to go to IMDB page):
- Slapstick – Slapstick is a type of stick/clapper used in slapstick comedy,it is used to create sounds of slapping so you do not have to make the sound whilst acting slapstick is also a type of broad, physical comedy involving exaggerated, boisterous actions (e.g. a pie in the face), farce, violence and activities which may exceed the boundaries of common sense.