Keaton's 'General' gets silent treatment

The Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra (LACO) will host its ninth annual Silent Film Gala at Glendale’s restored 1920s-era Alex Theatre on May 16.

The event, which raises funds for the LACO, is the orchestra’s main outreach to the filmmaking community and has proved popular with Hollywood talent. Past members of the honorary committee include Jerry Bruckheimer, Jodie Foster, Tom Hanks, Dustin Hoffman, Meg Ryan and Paul Newman. Corporate sponsors have included American Movie Classics, Disney, DreamWorks, Turner Entertainment and 20th Century Fox.

At this year’s gala, the LACO will accompany Buster Keaton’s classic 1926 film “The General” with Carl Davis’ original score. “It’s such a privilege to see silent films the way they should be seen, accompanied by a magnificent live orchestra,” said filmmaker Rob Reiner, who will act as the evening’s honorary chairman.

Set in the Civil War and based on a true story, “The General” was co-written and directed by Keaton, who plays a railroad engineer who thwarts a Union Army plot to break Confederate communication lines. Preceding the film will be Keaton’s rarely seen 1921 comedy short “One Week.”

“This is a natural for Los Angeles, a marriage of two of our city’s finest cultural achievements,” said event co-chairman Roger Mayer, president and CEO of Turner Entertainment Co. A catered VIP party in the courtyard of the theater will follow the film.

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