General, The

527. THE GENERAL (1926-USA). With BUSTER KEATON, MARION MACK, JOE KEATON (Buster’s father). Written and directed by KEATON and CLYDE BRUCKMAN. Based on a story by KEATON. A classic if there ever was one, this brilliant comedy is considered one Of the greatest films ever made, silent or otherwise. It is set during the Civil War; Buster finds himself unable to enlist in the Confederate Army because Of his vital job as engineer Of The General, the famous Southern train. As a result, his girl believes that he’s a coward. When the train is stolen by Union spies, Buster single-handedly sets out to recover it. What follows is one Of Hollywood’s most memorable picture-long chases, a comic delight that is at once rollicking and endlessly original. Throughout the film, Keaton expertly combines hilarious comic bits and routines with an action-packed dramatic story; the settings seem so real and beautiful that one could readily believe that the film (which is based on a true event) had actually been made on location during the Civil War. In a 1972 Sight and Sound magazine survey, it was named as one Of the ten-best movies ever made. In a 1977 American Film Institute survey, it was cited as one Of the top 50 all-time Hollywood features. In 1967, the Canadian Centennial Commission polled film critics and historians from 40 nations lo determine the greatest all-time comedy; this placed second, right behind Chaplin’s “The Gold Rush.” According to critic Walter Kerr, “The sense Of epic in The General does not end with the spectacular shape Of the film… As (it) must be the most insistently moving picture ever made, so its climax is surely the most stunning visual event ever arranged for a film comedy, perhaps for a film Of any kind.” “Silent” film with original organ score, correct projection speed. 106 minutes. Keaton