This Film Is 100 Years Old

Sherlock Jr. (1924)

Sherlock Jr. is a mid-length Buster Keaton film (not quite a short, not quite a feature) that’s pretty much the platonic ideal of Keaton perfection really, full of technical invention, astonishing stunts, creatively staged chases, and lots of good jokes in between as well to tie it all together.

Plot wise here, Buster Keaton plays a daydreaming cinema employee who’s trying to impress his girlfriend. Unfortunately, some other arsehole is also trying to win her heart, but by nefarious means. Appalling!

Of course, this means he tricks everyone into thinking Buster’s an absolute disgrace of a man, even though obviously he’s not. But now he’s banned from seeing his girlfriend, forever. Poor Buster.

Anyway, after this traumatising event, he goes back to work, falls asleep, and then while dreaming climbs into the film he’s projecting, where he spends basically the rest of the film, having lots of fun.

Wonderfully, this film within a film isn’t a parody of some other film you haven’t watched (as is usually the case), but a parody of this very film you’re watching right now, which is nicely circular.

It also allows for a good fifteen minutes of non-stop action and chases at the end, as well as a pretty wonderful recurring joke where he repeatedly fails to recognise his sidekick in his various disguises (all of which are just him wearing a big moustache).

So yeah, I loved this. Hooray for 1924. It’s off to a pretty good start.



1. I watched this on blu-ray, but as ever got the screenshots from youtube.

2. There’s a stunt/trick in the middle of this which is genuinely the best magic trick/special effect ever.

3. Which I won’t spoil here.

4. Cause I’m nice like that.

5. But it really is incredible.

6. And impossible.

7. Although like all the best tricks, its obviously a simple mixture of mirrors, trapdoors and some sort of portal to another dimension.

8. There’s also a bit where snooker is used for comic effect, which might be even more technically impressive somehow.

9. Who knew such a thing was even possible.

10. But turns out it was.

11. Briefly.

12. One hundred years ago.


Film Information

Title: Sherlock Jr.
Director: Buster Keaton
Year: 1924
Duration: 45 minutes
Watch: youtube

This Film Is 100 Years Old

The Marriage Circle (1924)

Directed by Ernest Lubitch in 1924, The Marriage Circle was his first American film, although it’s still set in Europe.

It’s a fairly convoluted but also pretty charming comedy of manners and misunderstandings about a happily married couple who are brought to the verge of divorce because everyone else keeps trying to have affairs with them for some reason.

I suppose that was the style at the time.

Everyone has pretty amazing faces, and they all wear wonderful clothes, and they all definitely seem to be having a lot of fun, which is nice.

I quite liked it, really.



1. I originally watched this on mubi last year (when it wasn’t even a hundred years old!)

2. But then rewatched just now on youtube.

3. Which is where I grabbed the images from too.

4. Weirdly, this was remade by Ernest Lubitch (presumably in sound) in 1932, as One Hour With You.

5. I’ve not seen that, though.


Film Information

Title: The Marriage Circle
Director: Ernest Lubitch
Year: 1923
Duration: 1 hour 25 minutes
Watch: youtube

This Film Is 100 Years Old

The Thief Of Bagdad (1924)

Written by, produced by, and starring (though not directed by) Douglas Fairbanks, The Thief Of Bagdad is an impossibly lavish and incredibly beautiful retelling/remixing/mangling of various stories from The Thousand And One Nights.

Douglas Fairbanks plays the irrepressible and irascible thief who, in falling in love with the princess, finally finds some sense of morality and purpose.

Roughly structured in two parts, the first part involves the thief winning the heart of the princess by a mixture of subterfuge, charm and mightily impressive muscles, while in the second he has to go on a mythic quest to save her from the hands of some nefarious arsehole or other (who might well be good at subterfuge, but lacks the thief’s charm and muscles).

The first half of the film is by far the best, with an exuberance and charm that almost dissipates away at times in the second section.

But there’s still a lot to like there too, including some genuinely incredible terrible monsters that the thief kills with a nicely manic fervour (and some impressive gouts of blood, smoke and what looks a bit like bile occasionally).

That first hour or so is just wonderful in pretty much every way, though, so if for some reason you’ve only got time to watch half of a 2 and a half hour silent film that’s 100 years old now, watch that half).



1. I first watched this on mubi, but it’s not on there any more. I grabbed the screenshots from youtube, where it will presumably be forevermore.

2. I’m not sure I’ve seen Douglas Fairbanks in anything else, but he’s incredible in this.

3. A huge swaggering proto-Brando of a performance.

4. This also has a brief but significant role for the always wonderful Anna May Wong (who was in The Toll Of The Sea) as a treacherous handmaiden (although considering she’s more slave than handmaiden, she’s probably right to be treacherous).

5. I still haven’t ever seen one of those American coins she was on.

6. I still want one.

7. This also has some lovely use of screen tinting (a nice delicate yellow for the outdoor scenes, a cool purple for the indoor scenes, some silvery black and white for the night time, and even green and reds for the forest and fire levels later on).

8. Which all gives it the feel of some 8-bit adventure game at times.


Film Information

Title: The Thief Of Bagdad
Director: Raoul Walsh
Year: 1924
Duration: 2 hours 20 minutes
Watch: youtube