The General

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The General
General1.jpg
Genre: Silent
Comedy
Action
Photography: Bert Haines
Devereaux Jennings
Running Time: 75 minutes (times vary with different versions)
Country: United States
Release Date: February 5, 1927
Directed by: Clyde Bruckman
Buster Keaton
Written by: Al Boasberg
Clyde Bruckman
Buster Keaton
Charles Henry Smith
Paul Girard Smith
Distributed by: United Artists
Starring: Buster Keaton
Marion Mack


The General is a 1926 American silent comedy film released by United Artists. It was inspired by the Great Locomotive Chase, a true story of an event that occurred during the American Civil War. The story was adapted from the memoir The Great Locomotive Chase by William Pittenger. 

Plot

When Union spies steal an engineer's beloved locomotive, he pursues it single-handedly and straight through enemy lines.

Why It Rocks

  1. Buster Keaton does a phenomenal performance as Johnny. His face and character is ideal for this type of comedy.  He is charismatic and often ignorant of what is going on around him, leading to plenty of laughs.
  2. There are countless train related jokes. The first one comes right at the beginning, when we see Johnny being followed by two kids and a woman, in a line much like a train.
  3. The movement and maneuvering of the trains is beautiful with the stunt work being an incredible accomplishment.
  4. The finale is a highlight of the film. To top off an comedic over-the-top film, is with explosions and destruction.
  5. Co-director and star Buster insisted on using historically accurate narrow-gauge railroad tracks, which he found, along with appropriate landscapes, near the sleepy town of Cottage Grove, Oregon.
  6. A good number of the gags, like the box-car that keeps appearing and disappearing as it switches tracks, have a long build-up for a relatively modest payoff.
  7. Great stunts personally performed by Buster Keaton (also the star, director, and writer) while being set in a pre-CGI world.
  8. Comic logic is important to the film. In no other movie do hyperbolic slapstick gags seem so plausible and inevitable except in this one. 

Gallery

External Links