All posts tagged Buster Keaton

CineCity News: THE GENERAL

The next CineCity feature will be Buster Keaton’s 1926 American masterpiece The General. This film is a fantastic example of a classic Hollywood silent picture. Filled with action, adventure and great visual gags it is considered one of Keaton’s finest works by critics, though at the time of release it was not very well received. Keaton himself, who began his career as a child star in a vaudeville act with his parents, thought The General was the best film he ever made. Orson Welles stated that The General is “the greatest comedy ever made, the greatest Civil War film ever made, and perhaps the greatest film ever made.” Screenings will continue each Monday and Wednesday through term 3. Any students who wish to participate need to see Daniel in the library to sign up. Bring your own popcorn!

Directed by: Clyde Bruckman

Buster Keatongeneral-poster

Cast: Buster Keaton

Marion Mack

Glen Cavender

Jim Farley

Written by: Clyde Bruckman

Buster Keaton

Genre: Action / Adventure / Comedy

Rating: G

Duration: 75 min

Colour: Black and White

Country/Language: USA / English  (SILENT)

Budget: $750,000 (estimated)

Year of Release: 1927

Production / Distribution Company: Buster Keaton Productions / United Artists Productions


Background notes:

• The film was based on actual events. “The Great Locomotive Chase” was a military raid that happened on April 12, 1862, in Georgia during the American Civil War. Saboteurs from the Union Army stole a locomotive and took it northward towards Tennessee, destroying as much as possible of the vital Western and Atlantic Railroad line as they went. They were chased by Confederate forces at first on foot, and later on a series of trains.

• Keaton did many hazardous physical stunts on and around the moving train. These included leaping from the engine to a tender to a boxcar, sitting on the cow-catcher of the slow moving train while clutching a railroad tie, and running across the roof. One of the most dangerous stunts occurred when Buster sat on one of the coupling rods, which connect the drivers of the locomotive.

Things to think about:

• Do you think the film would be better, funnier or more enjoyable if there was sound and dialogue?

• Did you find the humour and visual jokes funny or were they out-dated?