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The General [DVD]

Buster Keaton , Marion Mack , Buster Keaton , Clyde Bruckman    Universal, suitable for all   DVD
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)

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Product details

  • Actors: Buster Keaton, Marion Mack, Glen Cavender, Jim Farley, Richard Allen
  • Directors: Buster Keaton, Clyde Bruckman
  • Producers: Joseph M. Schenck
  • Format: PAL
  • Subtitles: German, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, Dutch, Danish, Finnish, Norwegian, Swedish, Hungarian, Hebrew, Russian, Arabic, French, Esperanto
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 4:3 - 1.37:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Classification: U
  • Studio: Cinema Club
  • DVD Release Date: 25 April 2005
  • Run Time: 72 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0007XMLZC
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 55,202 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)


Product Description

The original film has been digitally restored frame by frame on this special edition DVD and is accompanied by a symphonic score written and recorded by Joe Hisaishi, one of modern cinema's leading composers. A 23 page information booklet is also included with the DVD.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
27 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Buster's best 29 Sep 2007
Long acknowledged as `the' Keaton film - and the one that he chose to restart his career at Venice (if I remember correctly) - The General shows Keaton at his subtle, stone-faced best, although I wouldn't recommend it as the place to start discovering Keaton if you haven't done so yet. The shorts provide more of an accessible view of the quintessential Keaton as his death-defying best, performing stunts that these days - and even towards the end of his own career, when Hollywood wanted to protect his valuable name and image - are reserved as the domain of stuntmen.
He still dices with death in The General, notably when he throws one railway sleeper at another to pivot it from a railway line, while leaning backwards on the front of a moving-train (apparently with no way of preventing the train hitting the sleeper if he had missed), but this film is more notable for the way it easily maintains the viewer's attention using what is essentially a one-thread plot for over 100 minutes. Today, we've become accustomed to criss-crossing narratives and films being covered in ridiculous attention-seeking smatterings of special effects - to the detriment of the narrative - but Buster works things entirely the other way. And not just because special effects weren't at his disposal - as he shows in his short `The Cameraman', in which he pushed the moving image to places it had never been before.
Even outside the world of special effects, Keaton is much less the extrovert than his contemporaries Chaplin and Lloyd. Even though the straight-faced way he pulls off his gags is a huge part of his style, the quality of his material means that he really doesn't need to fill his films with the showboating, guff and common Laurel and Hardy style slapstick that others often relied on to pad out a film.
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43 of 44 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic Keaton 5 April 2005
This actually came out in France last year (alongside a theatrical re-release of the restored film) and it really is an essential purchase for all Keaton fans (and all silent movie fans as well). The film has never looked better, and has been beautifully restored, and while it doesn't show Keaton at his funniest, it definitely shows him at his most inspired. The film is a classic, and feels much more modern (in how it is edited and filmed) than almost any other silent film I have seen.
While the film alone would be worth the purchase price, this disc is full of bonus features.
Buster Keaton Rides Again (a documentary about the making of the Railrodder) is actually more interesting than the film it is about, and it is great to see Keaton as himself.
The Iron Mule is an Al St John short film that features a "blink and you miss it" cameo from Keaton. This is a nice addition, and is a film most silent film fans won't have seen. And while far from funny, is a nice touch.
The Orson Welles "introduction" comes from an early 70s TV screening of the film where Welles tells (for eleven minutes) of his admiration of Keaton and this film. It is interesting and again a nice addition to an already packed disc.
Some of the features are just padding (not that any padding is needed) such as "tinted film", "restoration of the film" and "return of the general".
But without a doubt this is a five star purchase, and with a full Keaton collection promised for later this year I hope this is the first of many excellent Keaton discs.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars very good but print not up to standard 2 Jan 2008
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
While the General is a great film I have serious doubts about the quality of this print which lack the sharpness of many of the carefully restored masterpieces of the silent screen we have seen in recent years. I am also convinced that the speed of this particular print is too slow (and to be fair prints are usually too fast) which you can see when people are walking.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A comic masterpiece 13 Dec 2006
This silent film is a joy for all lovers of the silent era and for railway fans. The escapades of Johnny (Buster) as he rescues the two loves of his life, his engine 'The General' and Miss Annabelle Lee, are comic masterpieces. The humour may be from the 20s, but it doesn't date. I have recently seen this film at a special viewing at the Alexandra Palace, and can honestly say that there was not one member of the audience who didn't leave with a smile on their face.

Buster continues to do all his own stunts, and in this film one of the simplest looking is also one of the scariest - how many of us would calmly sit on a steam locomotive's connecting rod as the train moves into the engine shed?

I would recommend this film unreservedly; a good laugh is a tonic to the system, and the NHS couldn't prescribe anything with a better guarantee to lift the spirits.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Format:Blu-ray|Verified Purchase
I first saw this film in the 70s at a public viewing and it has remained ever since in my memory as an outstandingly good film that I was determined to see again. Now, over 30 years later I at last have my own copy of it, and the film has proved to be even better than I remembered. I had not realised how much this story is based on fact, which is explained so well in the 18 minute long extra 'Video Tour of The General'. The other extras are interesting too. But back to the film itself. I had read the other reviews, which raved about the quality of the image, and even after the hype, I was still astounded by just how good the picture is, even though it's over 80 years old. I sat down with my wife and teenage son and daughter, and we all loved it, set to the Carl Davis score. (I have not tried the other two scores yet.) This film is a love story, an American Civil War story, an extended train chase and a damn good yarn, all rolled into one. In fact it's hard to believe that anyone could NOT enjoy it, and in the Blu Ray version with no region restrictions, it's an absolute bargain.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars The funniest film I have ever seen
I first saw this silent film in Symphony Hall when the CBSO orchestra were playing live background music. The audience were, almost literally, rolling in the aisles at the humour. Read more
Published 9 days ago by M. Counsell
4.0 out of 5 stars Good quality
Definitely worth getting this Cinema Club version rather than the endless nastily cobbled together ones I've seen from cheapo box sets. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Def Jef
3.0 out of 5 stars Not so hot.
This was well reviewed and said to be a classic of its type. I found it both disappointing and slow, even for a silent movie!
Published 1 month ago by Ellie Pike
5.0 out of 5 stars DVD
Yes, this was a gift and she loved it. Not a lot I can say about it because I haven't watched it, but glad this genre is available on DVD.
Published 2 months ago by Puppies
5.0 out of 5 stars The General -- one of the all-time great movies!
This movie has it all -- hilarious predicaments for the hero and heroine, a backdrop of authentic landscapes and technology of the Civil War era, outstanding camera work and a... Read more
Published 4 months ago by Dave Milne
4.0 out of 5 stars Buster Keaton
Being a huge Chaplin fan it was only natural that I would progress onto Buster! He was an amazing ahtletic performer and mesmerizing to look at and this film does not disappoint. Read more
Published 8 months ago by amanda chaplin-kay
3.0 out of 5 stars A great movie let down by a lazy release.
There's no question that The General is an absolute masterpiece which needs to be seen by anyone interested in cinema. But honestly, try & find a better release than this one. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Jim lavender
5.0 out of 5 stars BUSTER KEATON AT HIS VERY BEST!
Southern railway engineer Johnnie Gray (BUSTER KEATON) loves his steam locomotive The General and Annabelle Lee (MARION MACK). Read more
Published 10 months ago by Napoleon
5.0 out of 5 stars Fab
Absolutely great lots to see and laugh about its so funny watching some of the stunts being done by experts
Published 10 months ago by Terry
4.0 out of 5 stars Better than most silent comedies
One of Buster Keaton's better known films, made in 1926, and very much a complete work. This story is set during the American Civil war, and Keaton is the engineer on a train... Read more
Published 11 months ago by Mr. P. Johnson
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