The General

( 6 )

Overview

Buster Keaton plays Johnny Gray, a Southern railroad engineer who loves his train engine, The General, almost as much as he loves Annabelle Lee Marion Mack. When the opening shots of the Civil War are fired at Fort Sumter, Johnny tries to enlist -- and he is deemed too useful as an engineer to be a soldier. All Johnny knows is that he's been rejected, and Annabelle, thinking him a coward, turns her back on him. When Northern spies steal the General and, unwittingly, Annabelle, the story switches from drama and ...
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Overview

Buster Keaton plays Johnny Gray, a Southern railroad engineer who loves his train engine, The General, almost as much as he loves Annabelle Lee Marion Mack. When the opening shots of the Civil War are fired at Fort Sumter, Johnny tries to enlist -- and he is deemed too useful as an engineer to be a soldier. All Johnny knows is that he's been rejected, and Annabelle, thinking him a coward, turns her back on him. When Northern spies steal the General and, unwittingly, Annabelle, the story switches from drama and romance to adventure mixed with Keaton's trademark deadpan humor as he uses every means possible to catch up to the General, thwart the Yankees, and rescue his darling Annabelle -- for starters. As always, Keaton performs his own stunts, combining his prodigious dexterity, impeccable comic timing, and expressive body language to convey more emotion than the stars of any of the talkies that were soon to dominate cinema. ~ Emru Townsend
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Special Features

Three musical scores to choose from: Music composed and conducted by Carl Davis, performed by the Thames Silents Orchestra (in 5.1 stereo surround or 2.0 stereo); Music arranged and directed by Robert Israel; Theatre organ score by Lee Erwin; A video tour of the authentic General, presented in association with the Southern Museum; A tour of the filming locations, presented by John Bengston, author of Silent Echoes; Behind-the-scenes home movie footage; Filmed introduction by Gloria Swanson; Filmed introduction by Orson Welles; "The Buster Express" a brisk montage of train gags from throughout Keaton's career
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Lucia Bozzola
Buster Keaton perfectly balanced romance, action and comedy in his most admired film and personal favorite, a Civil War story about an engineer and his eponymous locomotive. Based on a true incident involving a hijacked Confederate train, Keaton strove to make the film as authentic as possible, shooting on location in Oregon to get the proper track gauge and sinking an actual locomotive engine at the film's climax (in reportedly the most expensive single take for a silent film). The lighting and composition recall Matthew Brady's Civil War photographs, while tracking shots following Keaton's locomotive adventures further displayed his technical expertise. The train became Keaton's supreme comic prop in the two intricately devised, and narratively mirrored, chase sequences involving his efforts to elude Union pursuers; the humorous business accompanying Keaton's retrieval of the General, and girlfriend, sent up romantic fantasies and war heroics. The effort seemed to be for naught when The General received negative reviews in 1927 and failed to make a profit. The General's reputation, along with Keaton's, however, was resuscitated in the 1950s; The General became Keaton's masterpiece, joining Charles Chaplin's The Gold Rush (1925) as one of the greatest silent comedies ever made.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 11/11/2008
  • UPC: 738329063726
  • Original Release: 1927
  • Source: Kino Video
  • Sound: silent
  • Time: 1:18:00
  • Format: DVD
  • Sales rank: 10,956

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Buster Keaton Johnnie Gray
Marion Mack Annabelle Lee
Glen Cavender Capt. Anderson
Jim Farley Gen, Thatcher
Fred Vroom Southern General
Richard Allen His Son
Joe Keaton Union General
Mike Donlin Union General
Tom Nawn Union General
Charles H. Smith Mr. Lee
Ray Thomas Raider
Jimmy Bryant Raider
Ross McCutcheon Raider
Charles Phillips Raider
Anthony Harvey Raider
Edward Hearn Union Officer
Budd Fine Raider
Frank S. Hagney Recruiting Officer
Technical Credits
Clyde Bruckman Director, Screenwriter
Buster Keaton Director, Editor, Screenwriter
Al Boasberg Screenwriter
Lee Erwin Score Composer
Bert Haines Cinematographer
Robert Israel Musical Arrangement
Devereaux Jennings Cinematographer
J. Sherman Kell Editor
Fred C. Ryle Makeup
Joseph M. Schenck Producer
Charles H. Smith Screenwriter
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Scene Index

Disc #1 -- General
1. Opening Titles [:08]
2. A Courtin' [2:21]
3. Enlistment [3:08]
4. Thatcher's Plot [5:57]
5. Hot Pursuit [3:43]
6. Heavy Artillery [5:27]
7. Obstacles [2:51]
8. Enemy Lines [5:48]
9. Espionage [3:58]
10. The General Reclaimed [9:05]
11. Water and Fuel [7:29]
12. Fleeing Texas [6:35]
13. Burning Bridges [4:03]
14. The Big Crash [6:32]
15. Battle Royal [1:35]
16. Heroes of the Day [4:39]
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Menu

Disc #1 -- General
   Play Film
   Audio Setup
      Music Composed and Conducted By Carl Davis, Performed By the Thames Silents Orchestra: 2.0 Stereo
      Music Composed and Conducted By Carl Davis, Performed By the Thames Silents Orchestra: 5.1 Surround
      Music Arranged and Directed By Robert Israel: 2.0 Stereo
      Theatre Organ Score Performed By Lee Erwin: 2.0 Stereo
   Scene Selection
Disc #2 -- General
   Video Tour of the Authentic General
   Tour of Filming Locations
   Behind-the-Scenes Home Movies Footage
   Intro By Gloria Swanson
   Intro By Orson Welles
   "The Buster Express"
   Photo Gallery
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 6 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(5)

4 Star

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1 Star

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Sort by: Showing all of 6 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 1, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Keaton's Favorite

    Of all his films, this was Buster Keaton's favorite. He had a lifelong love of trains (when he was growing up on Vaudeville, he aspired to be an engineer...his fans are grateful he decided to go into films instead!) and decided to make a film about a real-life history-making train, The General. He put a lot of time and care into making sure everything put into this film was accurate, down to even the minutest of details.

    The story is about an engineer, Johnnie Gray. Johnnie tries to enlist with the Confederate Army during the Civil War, but is turned down. His girlfriend leaves him, and then, the Union Army steals his train, The General. The movie is jam-packed with death-defying stunts and hilarious moments as Johnnie tries to get his train back AND warn the South about the Union's plans.

    If you want to see a historically accurate film about a real-life event, with heaps of comedy thrown in, this is the film for you.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Terrible soundtrack

    The soundtrack in this version is made up of various full orchestral symphonic pieces, and bears no relation to the action occurring on screen at the time. I found the only way to focus on the movie was to turn the sound off. I would have never bought this DVD had I known ...

    0 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 13, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 19, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted May 11, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted May 11, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 6 Customer Reviews