Live improvised score by Jonny Best on piano with Trevor Bartlett on percussion.
Many critics consider The General to be the last great comedy of the silent era, and it consistently ranks as one of the greatest comedies of all time on international critics’ polls.
Set during the Civil War and based on a true incident, the film is an authentic looking period piece. The title refers not to Buster Keaton’s character, but to his engine, ‘The General’ which figures prominently in one of the most harrowing and hilarious chase scenes ever filmed.
Buster Keaton portrays the engineer Johnnie Gray, who is rejected by the Confederate Army and then suffers the further humiliation of his girlfriend thinking him a coward. When a small band of Union soldiers penetrate far beyond Confederate lines to steal his locomotive, Johnnie sets off in hot pursuit. Seven of the film’s eight reels are devoted to the chase, with its orchestration of thrills and comedy. Keaton shot the film on the narrow railways of Oregon and used less than 50 titles to explain the whole story.
Digital restoration in 4K made by la Modern Videofilm under the supervision of Cohen Film Collection.
PLEASE NOTE: This film will play without any adverts or trailers, preceded by a short introduction from Yorkshire Silents.
Starring Buster Keaton, Marion Mack, Glen Cavander
Awards and Reviews
National Film Registry, 1988
“Spectacular chases, fires and explosions are captured with fluid camerawork. There are no stunt doubles for Keaton and of course no digital effects.” – Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian
“[Keaton’s films] have such a graceful perfection, such a meshing of story, character and episode, that they unfold like music.” – Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times
Buster Keaton, Clyde Bruckman | 1926 | USA | Cert U | 79 mins | Silent: English title cards