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Buster Keaton's career reached its creative apex with the rousing comic adventure The General. 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's 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 humor 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
In Steamboat Bill Jr., Keaton stars in the story of a college-educated young man who comes home to help his father work on his Mississippi River steamboat and immediately demonstrates just what a landlubber he is. What's worse, the woman he falls for is the daughter of his father's worst rival, a bullying rich guy who wants to drive Buster's boat out of business. Keaton's slapstick is inspired and precise, particularly during an amazing sequence in which he tries to walk across town during a tornado. Watch in amazement as the front of a building falls on Keaton and he walks away without a scratch. --Marshall Fine
the old chaplin vs keaton thing seems all the more pointless upon viewing the bulk of keatons work.
comparing them is a bit like the old apples and oranges thing. Read more
Great cinematography and action for one of the most impressive early comedies. Roger Ebert calls the Alloy Orchestra "the best in the world at accompanying silent film". Read morePublished on April 29 2004 by Ardeal
Buster Keaton's love of history, engineering and operatic displays of action are put to their finest use in his masterwork, The General. Read more
This is a very good collection of the "essentials" of Keaton. One problem I have is that the bonus disk includes the complete "Hard Luck" (it adds back in the... Read morePublished on Jan. 11 2004 by D. Junius
While the Kino releases of these and other Buster Keaton films are entertaining, this release has the advantage of (1) being taken from excellent prints of the movies, and (2) the... Read morePublished on Jan. 5 2004 by Primadogga
Favorite movies, like books, plays, and music, are purely subjective. "The General" happens to be my favorite film comedy - I have seen no other to match it. Read morePublished on Jan. 5 2004 by F. Adcock
I don't disagree with the minor complaints of some of the other reviews of this Kino set of Buster Keaton's 1920s films. The music isn't always at the highest level. Read morePublished on Dec 24 2003 by "willtb2004"
Well, at least it's the one I was waiting for. "The General" is one of my all-time favorite movies, and "Steamboat Bill" is my second most favorite Keaton... Read morePublished on Nov. 29 2003 by L. Barden