The General

It had been a while since I last watched a Buster Keaton film, so I remedied that last night.

This was made in 1926, a year before the switch over to sound, and it was also the last film that Buster had complete control over as he ended up making the most expensive silent film ever. In the day it did not get good reviews and was considered a flop, although it did make a profit. It actually premièred in Tokyo.

It is a very funny film though, very entertaining from beginning to end with some typical Buster stunts, some of which were obviously very dangerous. According to Wikipedia he was knocked unconscious in one scene, and there were numerous on-set accidents. There were a lot of fires too.

The story was based on an actual event in the U.S. Civil War where a train was stolen by a group of raiders who did as much damage as they could on the line while being pursued by two other trains, quite a nutty story.

Some of the stunts Buster did were a marvel to behold, the way he can run and jump around with that rubber-bendy body of his was entertainment enough. The poor actress that worked with him though seemed to have quite a rough time, especially when she was stuffed into a big sack and thrown around (the shot did not cut after she got into the sack).

Another great thing about Buster was his facial expressions which for most of the film was very typically deadpan, but his looks of surprise or astonishment were even funnier. Harold Lloyd and Charlie Chaplin were also good with facial expressions, but Buster was the absolute master.

It wasn’t a perfect film though, it lost steam occasionally, and some gags were a bit flat, but it is still a whole lot of fun to watch.

Date watched: May 9th
Score: 9/10
Film count 2018: 31

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