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Special Effects Unplugged: Movie Magic Before Computers

A movie that marshals eye-popping special effects, precision editing, sophisticated action choreography, and diabolically elaborate sets to explore the nexus between dreams and reality. Sounds familiar, right? Well, it’s not Inception—it’s the 1924 silent comedy Sherlock Jr., directed by Buster Keaton. (…)

Half a century before Christopher Nolan was born, and long before CGI, Keaton created a vivid world with its own laws and internally consistent logic. Call it the inception of Inception—it probably left just as many folks scratching their heads on the way out.

If you want to know in more detail how Harold Lloyd shot Safety Last (1923), knock yourself out.

And here's an affectionate and informative essay about Buster Keaton.

But honestly?

There's nothing I can say that will do justice to what you see in these two videos.

No matter how jaded you've been made by CGI -- the good and the bad -- if you aren't amazed, there's something wrong with you.