The General (1926) Buster Keaton

The General – 1926, its a silent film.

Director: Buster Keaton

It’s about a man, Johnnie Gray (Buster Keaton) who is a train engineer.  He lives in the south and its the civil war.  He has two loves, his train and his girl Annabelle (Marion Mack).  The Union army is approaching his town so he tries to enlist in the army to make his girl proud.  It doesn’t go the way he wanted it too.  Some spies from the Union steal his locomotive and he takes off in pursuit to save his train.  The action begins along with a lot of comedy.  Its a rather suspenseful and funny movie, there is a lot of close calls for Johnnie as he tries to save the train, the town, and his girl.

It is great acting and a very funny and heartwarming action. Buster Keaton does some amazing stunts as there is a lot of physical comedy and hustling all over a locomotive. He displays on the screen a whole range of emotions. He does this great thing of being in his own scene but also the scene that the viewer sees.  Things happen around him that he’s totally unaware of then at the very end of the scene the two parts on the screen come together. I watched this movie with my 10 year old daughter and she was not to keen to, but she ended up loving it as well.  There is a scene with Johnnie and Annabelle on a train and she’s helping him load the fire.  She’s picking up the smallest pieces of wood and he’s standing watching her as he wants her to really stoke the engine.  So he picks up a piece of wood about 2 inches long and she throws it in the fire quite happily.  I loved this scene as it showed frustration, sarcasm and love and all without words.

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