The General


Review: When a group of Union spies steal an engineer’s beloved locomotive, Johnnie Gray pursues it single-handedly and straight through enemy lines.
Directors: Clyde Bruckman and Buster Keaton
Actors: Buster Keaton, Marion Mack, Glen Cavender, Jim Farley, Joe Keaton and Mike Donlin
Year: 1926
Genre: Action, Adventure, Comedy, Drama and Romance
Conclusion: 4/5
This has one of the silent cinemas most celebrated runaway train gags in it. On its initial release the film was neither a resounding critical nor box-office success. You could say that the Buster Keaton’s films have aged more than his rival Charlie Chaplin. Buster Keaton’s face says it all. He puts so much expression into every scene. He has always said that this was his favourite of his own movies. This was one of the most expensive films at the time to make, including a recreation of a Civil War, hundreds of extra and dangerous stunt sequences. The screenplay is based on a book called The Great Locomotive Chase written by William Pittenger. Buster Keaton was born in 1897 and this was the same year as the cinema. Unfortunately when the talkies came in, he made an ill-advised deal with MGM that ended his artistic independence. In the Radio Times Guide to Films 2016 it quotes about this film “Keaton’s genius was not just the nuts and bolts of invention, but in the creation of character”.


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