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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.


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