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      The General

      Released Feb 5, 1927 1h 23m Comedy Action Adventure Drama War TRAILER for The General: Trailer 1 List The General: Trailer 1 The General: Trailer 1 1:43 View more videos
      92% Tomatometer 62 Reviews 92% Audience Score 10,000+ Ratings One of the most revered comedies of the silent era, this film finds hapless Southern railroad engineer Johnny Gray (Buster Keaton) facing off against Union soldiers during the American Civil War. When Johnny's fiancée, Annabelle Lee (Marion Mack), is accidentally taken away while on a train stolen by Northern forces, Gray pursues the soldiers, using various modes of transportation in comic action scenes that highlight Keaton's boundless wit and dexterity. Read More Read Less Watch on Fandango at Home Buy Now

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      The General

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      Critics Consensus

      Brilliantly filmed and fueled with classic physical comedy, The General captures Buster Keaton at his timeless best.

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      Critics Reviews

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      Adam Kempenaar Filmspotting The Mad Max: Fury Road of its day. Rated: 4.5/5 May 27, 2022 Full Review Kate Muir Times (UK) In these times when all risk is assumed by CGI effects, Keaton's squealing funny, exquisitely timed, death-defying leaps are all the more breathtaking. Rated: 5/5 Sep 23, 2014 Full Review Tim Robey Daily Telegraph (UK) The film boasts the most sustained passages of virtuoso slapstick genius Keaton ever shot, and an unflagging momentum that lets it get away with being a reel longer than most of his best-known pictures. Rated: 5/5 Jan 23, 2014 Full Review Sean Axmaker Stream on Demand ... a masterpiece, one of the finest silent films ever made and one of the great film comedies of all time. Apr 8, 2023 Full Review Josh Larsen LarsenOnFilm It’s hard to imagine Buster Keaton without trains. Rated: 3.5/4 May 13, 2022 Full Review Robert E. Sherwood LIFE Keaton shows signs of vaulting ambition in The General... That he fails to get across is due to the scantiness of his material as compared with the length of his film; he has also displayed woefully bad judgment in deciding just where and when to stop. Oct 7, 2021 Full Review Read all reviews

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      Ben W No option to delete. Put the stars in the middle. sorry. Today was a Wednesday, 22.05.2024ce. Rated 2.5 out of 5 stars 05/22/24 Full Review Logan J Some of the best stunts that you will ever witness in a movie. Along with the great story, you are sure to have a great watching experience! Highly recommend to anybody with a great appreciation of cinema Rated 4 out of 5 stars 12/01/23 Full Review Lars N Movie magic, pure and simple. Not only is it fun and thrilling but there is also a grandiosity to it, that I did not expect. Rated 5 out of 5 stars 11/07/23 Full Review Matthew B Buster Keaton's movies have always been viewed in the same league as those of Charlie Chaplin, but the man himself has made less impression. Chaplin knew how to exaggerate his physical traits to draw attention to himself. Even his physical appearance is more distinct – the tramp's outfit and the comic moustache. By contrast, Keaton was more impassive. He avoided pulling faces, and his reactions to events were more understated. He was a small man with a grave face. In The General, he sports long, curly hair. Keaton did not portray his characters as figures of fun. They were not absurd in themselves, even though absurd things happened to them. Plenty of absurd things happen to Johnnie Gray, the hero of The General (played of course by Keaton). He engages in pratfalls, and tools are not his friend. If he is cutting wood, he will lose his axe head. If he is brandishing a sword, the blade will fall off. In an early scene, he is followed to the house of his sweetheart by a couple of children, whom he fails to notice them until they get inside the house. This humour was necessary in silent comedy where there was a greater emphasis on slapstick drollery, since this was the most visual expression of a joke. Nonetheless what marks the Keaton hero is not foolishness, but an astonishing amount of resourcefulness and inventiveness. The General is about the two loves of Johnnie Gray's life, and the lengths that he goes through to rescue them. The first is his fiancée Annabelle Lee (Marion Mack), and the second is The General. The General is a large locomotive, and Johnnie is the engineer who drives the train. When he goes to visit Annabelle, he gives her a photograph of himself and The General. This seems rather apt, given his close affection for both loves are tied together. His life is changed by the outbreak of the American Civil War. Annabelle's family are instantly keen to sign up and fight for the Confederates. As a comic character, Johnnie is less enthusiastic, but he is anxious to please Annabelle so he ensures that he is first in the line to enlist. Unfortunately the recruiters reject his application because they decide that he would be more use to them as a train engineer. They do not explain the reason to Johnnie, leading to a comic scene as the little man compares himself to other men who were accepted, and who are neither taller nor muscular than he, and he makes several more failed attempts to sneakily join up. "If you lose the war, don't blame me!" the exasperated engineer proclaims. Johnnie is unable to explain how he was rejected by the army, so his fiancée's family think that he is a shirker, and regard him as a disgrace to the South. Annabelle tells him that she will refuse to speak to him until he is in uniform. This changes when Unionist soldiers steal The General, and accidentally abduct Annabelle too. What follows is a great chase in which Johnnie single-handedly pursues the runaway train, overcoming a number of obstacles that the soldiers put in his way. After he rescues both train and lover, the action takes place in reverse with the Unionist soldiers pursuing The General, and Johnnie seeking to obstruct their path. The Keaton hero is not a loser like the Chaplin hero. He is not a vagrant, but a worker. He is not an unusual man, but an ordinary one. As armies advance and retreat, we see the solitary figure of Johnnie chopping wood, oblivious to what is going on around him. Wars may come and go, but figures such as Johnnie will still be around when the rifles are put away. Nonetheless an ordinary man can be heroic too. This is not a movie that makes any point concerning the nature of war, either for or against fighting. It takes the side of the Confederates by way of plot convenience, but does not seek to promote the values that Confederates stood for. It is merely a celebration of individual courage and ingenuity. There was an audacity in Keaton's thinking too. A fan of train history, Keaton was inspired by the Great Locomotive Chase, a true event that happened during the American Civil War. Keaton studied photographs taken during the Civil War, and tried to recreate the look for the movie. He also bought the trains used in the film, and purchased a wide range of Civil War paraphernalia. With a cast of 3,000 paid people and a running cost of $400 an hour, The General proved, alas, to be the undoing of Buster Keaton. The film studio was unhappy with the cost of the film, and their anxiety was not helped when the making of the movie led to a few accidents and forest fires. The movie was made on a large budget, but it failed to make a significant profit. This was Keaton's greatest financial failure, and he lost his independence as a moviemaker as a result. Nonetheless many years later Keaton said that he was prouder of The General than of any other film that he had made. Time has proven him right. The General is now regarded with high esteem, and is thought to be one of the best silent movies ever made. I can only agree. The movie is better than I can describe, because its brilliance can only be appreciated when you see it. I wrote a blog expressing a longer appreciation of the film if you would like to read more: https://themoviescreenscene.wordpress.com/2018/03/18/the-general-1926/ Rated 5 out of 5 stars 08/24/23 Full Review Jeffrey M The General was a okay movie. It was very hard to understand, but this film was made in the 1920's, so I'll cut it slack. From what I understand of it, The General was a interesting movie. Also surprisingly, The General was a really funny movie, and guess what? I LOVE comedy! The General is very overrated though. People say it's a masterpiece, but for me it's not. I don't understand what's so good about this movie, speaking of understand I could barely understand the movie. I give this a 70%. Rated 3.5 out of 5 stars 02/17/24 Full Review Oscar E THIS IS MY FAVORITE MOVIE OF ALL TIME, ITS NOSTALGIC CLASSIC ORIGINAL AMZING UMAI, ITS BETTER THEN THE GODFATHER Rated 5 out of 5 stars 08/03/23 Full Review Read all reviews
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      Cast & Crew

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      Movie Info

      Synopsis One of the most revered comedies of the silent era, this film finds hapless Southern railroad engineer Johnny Gray (Buster Keaton) facing off against Union soldiers during the American Civil War. When Johnny's fiancée, Annabelle Lee (Marion Mack), is accidentally taken away while on a train stolen by Northern forces, Gray pursues the soldiers, using various modes of transportation in comic action scenes that highlight Keaton's boundless wit and dexterity.
      Director
      Clyde Bruckman, Buster Keaton
      Producer
      Buster Keaton, Joseph M. Schenck
      Screenwriter
      Clyde Bruckman, Al Boasberg, Buster Keaton, William Pittenger, Charles Smith, Paul Smith
      Distributor
      Image Entertainment Inc., Radio Films S.A.E.S.A. [es], Cineteca S.A., Madacy Entertainment Group Inc. [us], Andrés Vicente Gómez Montero [es], Reel Media International [us], United Artists, Kino Video, Thames Video Collection, Republic Pictures, Aikman Video, LS Video
      Production Co
      United Artists, Buster Keaton Productions Inc. [us]
      Genre
      Comedy, Action, Adventure, Drama, War
      Original Language
      English
      Release Date (Theaters)
      Feb 5, 1927, Wide
      Release Date (Streaming)
      Sep 1, 2016
      Runtime
      1h 23m
      Aspect Ratio
      Flat (1.37:1)
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