Review: ‘The General’

The General is far from fussy. Its principal comedy scene is built on that elementary bit, the chase, and you can't continue a fight for almost an hour and expect results. Especially is this so when the action is placed entirely in the hands of the star. It was his story, he directed, and he acted. The result is a flop.

The General is far from fussy. Its principal comedy scene is built on that elementary bit, the chase, and you can’t continue a fight for almost an hour and expect results. Especially is this so when the action is placed entirely in the hands of the star. It was his story, he directed, and he acted. The result is a flop.

The story is a burlesque of a Civil War meller. Buster Keaton has the role of a youthful engineer on the Watern and Atlantic RR, running through Georgia, when war is declared. He tries to enlist, but is turned down, as it is figured that he would be of greater value to the cause as an engineer. His girl, however, won’t believe this, and tells him not to see her again until he is in a uniform.

The girl is on a visit to her dad when 10 Union daredevils steal the train in the middle of Confederate territory and start off with it, intending to burn all bridges behind them, so that the line of communication and supplies for the enemy shall be cut. The girl is on the train, and Keaton, sore because his beloved engine has been stolen, gives chase in another locomotive.

There are some corking gags in the picture, but as they are all a part of the chase they are overshadowed.

The General

Production

Keaton/United Artists. Director Buster Keaton, Clyde Bruckman; Producer Joseph M. Schenck; Screenplay Buster Keaton, Clyde Bruckman, Al Boasberg, Charles Smith; Camera J. Devereaux Jennings, Bert Haines; Editor Sherman Kell; Art Director Fred Gabourie

Crew

Silent. (B&W) Available on VHS, DVD. Extract of a review from 1927. Running time: 77 MIN.

With

Buster Keaton Marien Mack Glen Cavender Jim Farley Frederick Vroom Charles Smith
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  1. donshaw2000 says:

    A great, great movie.

  2. erik says:

    your review makes we wonder if you actually like films…Maybe you’re in the wrong profession? You could try accounting…

  3. Santiago Rodríguez Brun says:

    When a film is critically acclaimed through the years as one of the best of all times, and a çritic call it a flop, the conclusion for me s that the critic is a flop

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