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General (The Ultimate Two-Disc Edition) [Import]

Buster Keaton , Marion Mack , Buster Keaton , Clyde Bruckman    NR (Not Rated)   DVD
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
List Price: CDN$ 32.99
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General (The Ultimate Two-Disc Edition) [Import] + Modern Times (Criterion Collection)
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Product Description


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'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

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Hilarious - a must-see! July 30 2002
By ehakus
Quite simply, The General is HILARIOUS! Although I am generally not a huge fan of silent movies (I prefer the classic sound films), The General is an exception. Way ahead of its time, this film was not initially well recieved and was a big flop, but it is now considered by many to be Buster Keaton's finest film. Overall, the General is truly a showcase of Keaton's brilliance as a comedian and stuntman.
The General is set in the Civil War. Basically, it is the story of an engineer named Johnny Gray who, after being rejected from serving in the Southern army and consequently not being able to marry his sweetheart (she will only have him if he is in the army), finds himself engaged in a huge chase to get his train back after it is stolen from him by a small group of Northerers. The chase is hilarious - it has often been imitated, but nothing can compare to the original - and Keaton's expressions, especially his famous deadpan expression, are hysterical.
Anyhow, this classic comedy is a must-see. Keaton's antics are great, and it is amazing to think that he did all his daredevil stunts in an era where special effects were nonexistent (if you wanted to crash a train off a bridge, you actually had to do it)! The General is perfect for the whole family (this is my 11 year old brother's favorite movie, he has seen it at least 100 times) and is a real treat to watch. I don't know how else to recommend this - get it and enjoy!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Comic art made tragic March 13 2002
Format:VHS Tape
Buster Keaton is a genius of silent movies and this film is a precious gem in his collection. The situation is serious since we are in the Secession War, on the southern side, and Buster Keaton is a train engineer. He saves a particularly dangerous situation witrh his chase of the train hijacked by northern spies and then his rescue of his love and his being chased this time by the northerners. He succeeds in burning a bridge that will cause a complete change of balance of power in favor of his southern side. He will also take part in the ensuing battle and carry the day. He will be made a lieutenant and will conquer the love of his belle in the most beautiful way. His antics are not funny but used systematically to increase the suspense of the situation and the dramatic depth of the plot. That change of comic elements into dramatic and even tragic elements is the sign of the most perfect art displayed by Buster Keaton with the simplicity and modesty that are his by nature. His serious stance, him never laughing of course, emphasizes this deepening of a human dilemma in the most convincing way.
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5.0 out of 5 stars One of the all time classic silent film comedies April 27 2004
Format:VHS Tape
If anyone could have made a comedy about the American Civil War and pulled it off, it was BUSTER KEATON. This is one of the all time classic silent comedies. Buster plays a steadfast trainman whose loyalty is with his girl and the South, but fate manages to throw their plans assunder. Rejected from the service because he was too valuable to the Confederacy as an engineer. Branded a coward, Buster manages to become the hero in a roundabout way. Look for classic routines like Keaton frantically trying to find his shoes in a hopelessly tangled pile of footwear, trying to load a cannon with limited success and finally, being promoted to an officer and having brigades of soldiers salute him, all the while he trying to kiss his true love. Granted, Civil War purists will fault some of the technical points, such as uniforms and weapons, but for once, OVERLOOK IT and enjoy the film! Even if it was 100% authentic, it is still a treasure worth seeing.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Johnnie get your gun! Jan. 29 2001
Format:VHS Tape
"The General" is a film that is so well-paced and well-crafted, you don't even realize you've been watching a film that is an hour and a half in length. This is easily one of the best comedies ever made (silent or otherwise) and among my favorite films of all time. Buster Keaton plays Johnnie Gray, a train engineer in the south during the Civil War. Johnnie's two loves in his life are his train, The General, and his girl, Annabelle. Imagine the horror when, after a daring plot by Union army spies, Johnnie's train is hijacked and his girl is kidnapped in the process. It's Johnnie to the rescue as he gives chase by another train to save his beloved General, get the girl, and maybe even become a hero. With an ever-present blank expression on his mug, Keaton treats the viewer to feats of daring, physical comedy. The movie itself zooms from gag to gag as if riding a train from station to station. And what a delightful ride it is.
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By A Customer
Format:VHS Tape
Okay, maybe some of us prefer this or that Keaton film, but like Citizen Kane, The General is a choice all of us can live with as #1. Many video editions exist, and the print quality on the Thames TV version is arguably a hair better, but this is stll the video edition to own because it throws in what all of us could just as well live with as Keaton's best two shorts. Cops is built around the gloriously dark and surreal image of Keaton being pursued by an army of cops; The Playhouse is, after Sherlock Jr., the best example of Keaton as tinkerer with the medium, as he uses (flawless) double exposure to play an entire minstrel show, all the members of the pit orchestra-- and the entire audience.
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Most recent customer reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars One Star
The copy was of poor quality, quite dark and lacking defination compared to other copies that I have viewed.
Published 2 months ago by Tom Leighton
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Really a side slapper
Published 3 months ago by kenneth eastman
5.0 out of 5 stars Buster Keaton is a genius
One of the best and funniest silent movies ever made. Buster Keaton made this amazing comedy/action movie come alive. The video is good quality for such an old film. Read more
Published 19 months ago by Jeff Sulik
5.0 out of 5 stars Funny!
Fun to watch. & amazing what can be done without words & without blowing stuff to bits or shooting a bunch of bad guys. Read more
Published 20 months ago by Rebecca Burke
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful
While the film is unbelievably amazing, the reproduction of this film is even better!

Plus the tv segment with Orson Welles talking about Buster Keaton is a nice bonus... Read more
Published on May 11 2011 by Frederic Gable
1.0 out of 5 stars Avoid this General
There are other versions of "The General" available on DVD and any would be preferable to this one. Read more
Published on Oct. 13 2003
5.0 out of 5 stars None better
I asked myself two simple questions after viewing this film: Was it worth making? Could it possibly have been made any better? The answers are, respectively, yes and no. Read more
Published on June 28 2002
5.0 out of 5 stars The MASTERPIECE
Not much new can be said about THE GENERAL. It is Buster's masterpiece and one of the greatest movies ever made. No debate. Read more
Published on Sept. 30 2001 by Brother Frank
5.0 out of 5 stars The General
Without a doubt one of the greatest movies of all time. I won't say much about the content because there is a ton of info on The General everywhere. Read more
Published on Sept. 21 2001 by Brother Frank
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