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The General * Clyde Bruckman & Buster Keaton (1926)

“The General” is a silent classic in which we follow Johnny who operates the steam-train General. During the American civil war he is refused as a soldier but accidentally ends up in the middle of the fight nonetheless. Following his own train that is taken by the opposition, Johnny hijacks another train to pursuit. The film amusingly shows the early days of training in which the machinist climbs back and forth on the train, puts it in reverse when he takes the wrong turn and runs out in front of it removing obstacles from the tracks. I think the film is a bit of a parody on actual events. The film is amusing and accompanied by specially composed music. The overly slapstick humour, probably a sign of the time, is a bit superfluous though. A nice film to see some time. On the special 2 DVD edition that I rented, there are more short films on the extra disc, some of which are amusing as well.

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