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The General (1926)

The General (1926)


Buster Keaton

Directed by Buster Keaton and Clyde Bruckman

In what is considered Buster Keaton’s best film and a highly rated comedy, The General is one classic movie which didn’t get the critical reception Buster expected when it was done. The movie is a silent film done in 1926 and it is funny, the scenes were juicy and the stunts were fun to see.

Buster was at his creative peak when he did this movie, but the problem was his creativity was well ahead of its time when this movie came out making the movie both a critical and commercial flop.

The movie also caused Buster a lot, even though he stood by his production calling the film the best movie he ever made, after its commercial tragedy Buster lost total creative rights to his next set of productions and in the end when sound came, Keaton was swept away.

Not much of a fan of silent films, but this one is worth seeing, ranked 18th in both AFI’s 100 years… 100 laughs and 100 years... 100 films, this movie is guaranteed to leave a smile on your face when you are done seeing it.

Now to be honest, I feel Charlie Chaplin had it better and between the two I believe Chaplin ranks best, but that is not taking it away from Keaton who is a sure fire comedian.

The General is based on The Great Locomotive Chase by William Pittenger, who was a soldier who was part of the Andrews' Raid, also referred to as the Great Locomotive Chase.

The movie starts with Buster’s character Johnnie trying to enlist in the army to impress his girlfriend, he was turned down because his occupation was needed and the south could not bear to lose him in the ongoing American Civil War. Hell bent to get in he pulls all necessary tricks, but failed and lost the respect of his girl.

A year later his girl receives word that her father is wounded and she travels to go see him, he train (named The General) is driven by her ex Johnnie and during the journey, the train had a pit stop so the passengers could eat. The Yankees (North) seized this opportunity to capture the train, which still had Johnnie’s girl on board.

Johnnie begins chase unaware that his girl was on the train, but wanting to get his train back and the whole journey and quest led him to find his girl in the enemy’s camp. Now Johnnie has to save her and also carry information on what the North are planning, information he got while hiding under the table as they spoke.

Bonnie and Clyde (1967)

Bonnie and Clyde (1967)


Warren Beatty
Faye Dunaway

Directed by Arthur Penn

Bonnie and Clyde is a wonderful adaptation of the two armed robbers who terrorized America in the early 30s. This movie starts with a wonderful acting pair in Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway, their acting alone did it for me, but another memorable person in the movie is Buck’s wife Blanche played by Estelle Parsons.
Her portrayal was awesome, to be honest her acting trumps the rest. She was the person in the movie you want to hate for just being there, and she did that part too well and won an Academy Award for all her troubles, and it was worth it.

The movie was a landmark in its time of release, due to the sexual content and the huge graphic violence. If you compare the contents to what we see today, what happened in the film will fall under none existence. But in 1967 the implied sexual act of Bonnie on Clyde was frown upon. Another thing that was not well received was the glorification of the characters as somewhat anti-heroes, when in reality they were criminals.
The movie tells the tale of Bonnie and Clyde two strangers who met and began a life of crime after their first heist together gave them a rush.

The continued terrorizing and driving around America, when they noticed that getting away after every robbery was proving difficult, they got a new member in their group to be their getaway driver. After a rough start, the trio were doing well and were joined by Clyde’s brother and wife.

The five of them kept getting involved in shootouts and robbing that nothing seems clearer to you the view than expecting the end of the movie to be as it was.

The movie production had some serious setbacks, Warren Beatty bought the film rights and tried producing it after all previous failed attempts. He had the script re-written and began shooting after he convinced Arthur Penn to direct. Upon completion Beatty faced another problem Warner Bros refused to give the film a wide release, for fear of bad reception due to the movie sexual content and huge graphic violence, after Warren threatened to sue, it got a wide release and the $2.5 million production film raked in $70 million in the box office.

Now the movie is not totally honest to the real Bonnie and Clyde story. They did some changes in the characters, just to add some drama to the movie. The whole talk of Clyde’s sexual problem portrayed in the movie are just additions, also the humiliation of the Texas Ranger is fiction. C.W. Moss never existed, but was introduced as a merger of two other characters in the gang.

Now the movie wasn’t a total roller coaster ride, there were some moments when things went smooth and easy, but there is nothing like the awesome ending, the cinematic ending is classic. This is one of the good movies of the old days to see anytime.

The Producers (1968)

The Producers (1968)


Zero Mostel
Gene Wilder

Directed by Mel Brooks

The first 14 minutes of this film is total rubbish, in fact it can discourage you from seeing the whole movie through (1hour 29 minutes). But the moment Leo Bloom (Gene Wilder) acts out when Max Bialystock (Zero Mostel) touched his blue blanket, I sat back down and concentrated to see what makes this 1968 film a comedy classic.

Rated 11th in AFI’s 100 Years… 100 Laughs, this comedy masterpiece was not well received during its tenure and itself was a flop, which ironically was what the movie plot was about. The movie is about making a Broadway production for $1 million dollars which will be a financial flop.
Now guess what the movie budget was? $941,000 almost a million.

This movie was written and directed by Mel Brooks, and it signifies his directorial debut. He later won in that same year an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay.

I’m more familiar with Wilder based on his latter movies, but here was my first time seeing Zero Mostel on screen, and although he was good, Wilder seemed to have been better at his job than he.

The movie starts by introducing Mr. Bialystock a flimsy womanizer who sleeps with elderly women so as to raise funds for his plays. He is greeted in his office by an Accountant named Leo Bloom, who discovers that Bialystock had made a failed play and still got away with $2,000.

Bloom going through Max’s books and wanting to help him hide the $2,000 he stole from his investors after Max begged and convinced him to, thought out loud a scheme that can make millions.
The scheme was to raise $1 million dollars for a $60,000 play, but not making any of the investors aware of the presence of another. Then sell shares to each of them, and in the end when the play flops and no money is made, the investors get nothing.

Max hears this scheme and convinces Leo that they can pull it off, even after Leo warns that it can backfire and send them to jail for fraud.

Bialystock and Bloom, start a production company, pick the worst script they could find which was written by a mentally unstable man, got the worst director they could find and loaded the play with the worst actors there is.

They now sold shares of the play’s profit to investors, to some they sold 100%, some 50% and the rest 25% totaling a sale of 25,000% of what should just be a 100%.

Now that they have done everything wrong, they believe that nothing could go right with the play and make it a hit.

This movie is indeed very funny and the music is exceptional, I will have this in my archive and I think you should too.