1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die Wiki


#35. The General

  • Year: 1927
  • Country: USA
  • Production: United Artists, 75m B&W Silent (Sepiatone)
  • Director: Clyde Bruckman, Buster Keaton
  • Producer: Buster Keaton, Joseph M. Schenck
  • Screenplay: Al Boasberg, Clyde Bruckman
  • Photography: Bert Haines, Devereaux Jennings
  • Cast: Buster Keaton, Marion Mack, Charles Smith, Joe Keaton, Richard Allen, Glen Cavender, Jim Farley

Abridged Book Description

Keaton made several films that may be counted among the finest (and funniest) in cinema's entire comic output, but none is as strong a contender to the title of the greatest comedy ever made as this timeless masterpiece. it isn't merely the constant stream of great gags, nor the way they derive wholly from situation and character rather than existing in isolation from the film's drama. Rather, what makes The General so extraordinary is that it is superlative on every level: in terms of its humor, suspense, historical reconstruction, character study, visual beauty, and technical precision. One might even argue that it comes as close to flawless perfection as any feature ever made, comic or otherwise... The voyage also lends the film an epic tone which, combined with Keaton's customarily meticulous historical detail, transforms it into perhaps the finest Civil War movie ever made. Then, finally, there is Buster's Johnny: unsmiling yet beautiful in his brave, faintly ridiculous determination - the epitome of this serio-comic masterpiece, and as deeply human a hero as the cinema has given us.