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The General [1926] [DVD]

4.5 out of 5 stars 69 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Actors: Buster Keaton, Marion Mack, Charles Smith, Frank Barnes, Glen Cavender
  • Directors: Buster Keaton, Clyde Bruckman
  • Format: PAL, Black & White, Dolby, Digital Sound, Full Screen
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 4:3 - 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: U
  • Studio: Elstree Hill Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: 12 Jan. 2004
  • Run Time: 101 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (69 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0001B3XIO
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 33,734 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Product Description

Product Description

Train engineer Johnny Gray (Buster Keaton) is turned down when he tries to enlist in the Confederate Army during the American Civil War as his occupation is deemed too important. When his train (The General) is stolen by Union soldiers so that it can be used to attack Confederate forces, only Johnny and his girl Annabelle Lee can save the train and warn the Confederates about an impending attack.

From Amazon.co.uk

Buster Keaton's career reached its creative apex with this rousing comic adventure. Not merely one of the finest silent films, this remains one of the great film comedies of all time. The Great Stone Face stars as Southern railroad engineer Johnny Gray, a man with only two loves: the sweet Annabelle Lee (Marion Mack) and his trustworthy engine, the eponymous General. When Fort Sumner is fired upon he is one of the first to enlist, but when the war office rejects him (he's too valuable as a trained engineer) his sweetie rejects him as a coward. Johnny has the opportunity to prove his bravery when Yankee spies steal his engine and inadvertently kidnap Annabelle, and Johnny pursues with all the resources at his disposal: handcar, bicycle and finally railroad engine. Keaton's love/hate relationship with technology and machinery shines as he becomes one with his beloved locomotive and wrestles with a finicky cannon that threatens to blow his engine off the tracks; with tremendous dexterity, he nails the humour with inimitably deadpan takes. Spunky Marion Mack makes a perfect partner for Keaton, not merely a foil but a gifted comedienne in her own right. Other Keaton films contain more laughs and inspired comic stunts, but none combines romance, adventure and comedy into a solid story as seamlessly as this silent masterpiece. --Sean Axmaker, Amazon.com --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
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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By Ian Shine VINE VOICE on 29 Sept. 2007
Format: DVD
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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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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Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
if you know anything, you already know that _The General_, Buster Keaton's great masterpiece, is simply quite possibly the single greatest film ever made, and easily the greatest comedy ever made.

You MUST BUY this Bluray version, it is spectacular. it is actualy mastered from a NEWLY STRUCK PRINT, FROM THE ACTUAL CAMERA NEGATIVE. I'm not kidding.

Let me type that again - they FOUND THE CAMERA NEGATIVE, and they STRUCK A NEW PRINT, so as to MASTER IT FROM THAT PRINT. Right out of the {insert string of astounded vulgar adjectives here} chemical bath. I mean that's unbelievable.

The only thing that could be better than this is if Buster Keaton came back to life and appeared in your living room and went on to become your best friend and roommate.

Additionally the disk is packed with excellent bonus features (such as a nice piece by old Orson Welles, and excellent history about the real "General" steam train).

This is without a shadow of a doubt the greatest and most important movie ever made about trains; easily the most important work of comedy in our entire planetary era; easily the greatest silent film ever made (as a curiosity, it was in fact the most expensive silent film ever made); as Orson Welles points out, as a sort of passing matter, it is far and away the best Civil War movie ever made; and indeed just generally perhaps the greatest, most human, most "real", film ever made.

On top of all that the Bluray is the last word in classic film bluray presentations ---- a miracle. BUY IMMEDIATELY.

On a technical note, there are NO region restrictions, and the seller is shipping same-day. I cannot emphasise enough how good this Bluray is, I'm going to buy more copies just in case the world comes to an end or something. Buy instantly.
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