General

The General

4.3 6
Director: Clyde Bruckman

Cast: Clyde Bruckman, Buster Keaton, Marion Mack, Glen Cavender

     
 

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Image Entertainment teams up with Kino Video to present the DVD for one of the greatest comedies, The General, starring the stone-faced Buster Keaton. Presented in its original full-frame aspect ratio, the image shows its age, and really could use more restoration. The black-and-white photography shows all the blemishes, scratches, and dust, which is a shame…  See more details below

Overview

Image Entertainment teams up with Kino Video to present the DVD for one of the greatest comedies, The General, starring the stone-faced Buster Keaton. Presented in its original full-frame aspect ratio, the image shows its age, and really could use more restoration. The black-and-white photography shows all the blemishes, scratches, and dust, which is a shame considering this is such an acclaimed title. The sound, which consists of an orchestrated score, is entirely adequate with a mono soundtrack split over two channels. As for extras, as is often the case with Image, there isn't much. A real plus though, in place of any addition supplements, are two short films starring Keaton, The Playhouse, which runs 23 minutes, and the highly amusing Cops, at a brisk 18 minutes long. Though overall the disc doesn't amount to much, there is no question of the importance of this film. Therefore, until a better DVD comes along (if that ever happens), this might just be as good of a treatment this film will get.

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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Kryssa Schemmerling
A staple on most critics' "Greatest Movies Ever Made" list, this was Buster Keaton's own favorite among the many silent masterpieces in which he starred and directed. The plot, as elegantly constructed as a mathematical equation, centers around little Johnny Gray, an engineer rejected from the Confederate Army, who becomes a hero when he rescues both his beloved engine and his sweetheart from the Yankees. The marvelously inventive gags, almost all of which take place aboard, or involve, moving trains, include the sublime spectacle of a real locomotive crashing off a burning trestle bridge into the river below. Designed to look like a Matthew Brady photograph come to life, The General remains the most hauntingly accurate vision of the Civil War ever filmed. The inspired combination of comedy and historical realism confounded '20s audiences; the movie was an expensive flop that contributed to Keaton's professional demise. His brilliant career as an independent filmmaker had been over for years before The General was recognized as the work of cinematic genius that it is.
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:
10/26/1999
UPC:
0738329013127
Original Release:
1927
Rating:
NR
Source:
Image Entertainment
Presentation:
[B&W]
Time:
1:56:00
Sales rank:
53,233

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

Side #1 --
0. Chapter Selections
1. "The General" Opening Titles [2:31]
2. A Courtship [3:03]
3. First in Line [7:49]
4. Trouble at Big Shanty [2:09]
5. Johnnie to the Rescue [7:10]
6. Staying on Track [5:20]
7. Into Enemy Territory [3:47]
8. Lost, Cold and Hungry [4:33]
9. Escape in the Night [4:08]
10. Taking the Train [4:41]
11. In Pursuit [5:01]
12. Slowing Them Down [5:06]
13. Drastic Measures [2:02]
14. The Rock River Bridge [2:53]
15. The Yanks Are Coming! [3:12]
16. Battle at Rock River [4:04]
17. Take Aim [2:17]
18. Heroes of the Day [4:08]
19. Alone at Last [1:00]
20. "The Playhouse" Opening Titles [2:46]
21. The Keaton Minstrels [3:47]
22. Backstage Antics [3:44]
23. Monkey Business [4:47]
24. Zooave Guards [3:24]
25. That's Entertainment! [4:43]
26. "Cops" Opening Titles [1:58]
27. A Good Businessman [4:07]
28. Transportation Trouble [3:54]
29. Policemen on Parade [3:29]
30. Massive Manhunt [4:45]

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The General 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
SilentClown22 More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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 ...