What makes this film worth watching? See All Reviews
- Frank Barnes - Annabelle's Brother
- Glen Cavender - Captain Anderson
- Mike Donlin - Union General
- Jim Farley - General Thatcher
- Boris Karloff - Union General
- Buster Keaton - Johnny Gray
- Joe Keaton - Union General
- Marion Mack - Annabelle Lee
- Tom Nawn - Union General
- Charles Henry Smith - Annabelle's Father
- Frederick Vroom - A Southern General
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Member Reviews (13)
The first hour is perfect, hell it's beyond perfect; the battle sequence is kind of a let-down that feels out of joint with the two train chases that provide the film with its ingenious symmetry -- and I think some critics are stretching a bit in calling this a critique of Southern values; if it is there, Keaton doesn't push it far enough (except for the gags that tear mercilessly into the uselessness of Southern belles).
Oh, oh, I am going to get in trouble here. But I didn't think this film was particularly funny at all. I can see it as perhaps being interesting as a period piece, like reading Catcher in the Rye, but to me it just seemed exagerated and stilted. My sorry to all Keaton fans; maybe I am just a philistine at heart.
A masterpiece on many levels. Keaton's physicality, the acrobat posing as a stunmblebum, is truly amazing.
All the hotshot action filmmakers and stars out there need to get together and build a giant marble statue of Buster Keaton and his Choo Choo Train. "The General" is more than a great comedy; it's a great chase film. In some ways, this is the prototype for the modern action-adventure comedy. Decades before the formula became processed junk food at the multiplex, Keaton engineered a high-energy chase movie that smoothly fuses the irreverent with the epic. “The General” keeps rolling along, entertaining generations of audiences, and it shows no sign of slowing down.
Buster Keaton pushed film comedy like no one else when he made this one. He meticulously recreated the Civil War setting. He mixed slapstick comedy with battlefield death. He hired thousands of extras and filmed what may be the single most expensive shot of the silent era (then used that shot as the setup for a gag whose punch line is a simple close-up). The result was a critical and commercial flop in 1926, but today it’s rightly considered one of the greatest comedies ever made.
I feel a little uncomfortable praising a Civil War comedy that asks us to root for the Confederates. After all, the South’s rebellion was an act of treason committed in defense of slavery. And yet, here I am, discussing the genius of a movie where the lovable hero proudly waves the Stars and Bars–clearly a cue for audience applause–in the climactic battle. On the other hand, as he waves, he steps on a “rock” that turns out to be the back of a cowardly Confederate officer. Buster Keaton, the film’s auteur as well as its star, wasn’t much interested in politics. But he sure enjoyed making fun of the military.
You can read my longer essay at http://bayflicks.net/2015/08/17/the-a-list-the-general-and-the-gold-rush/.
Great print. Soundtrack very appropriate for this timeless classic.
Keaton is impressive, the story is fun and, what I often find annoying in other silent films, the need for dialogue is kept to a minimum. Also, Keaton never overacts his part. We may see him as a clown, but his character is earnest, honest and determined. This is the silent film for the silent film hater. However, other than its historical value and amazing scenes for the time, I don't think of it as a great film. Entertaining, yes. A must-see, no (other than for film buffs and students.)
Buster Keaton was a genius at timing.
Didn't think I would enjoy a "silent film". However, I was very pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed the film and the sense of humor of Keaton. Although it showed the South and Keaton as the victors, as a Northerner or "damn Yankee" I still rooted for the Railroad engineer and his exploits.
buster keaton is my great uncle and his filmes are the greatest