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The General
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The General (1926) More at IMDbPro »

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The General -- When Union spies steal an engineer's beloved locomotive, he pursues it single handedly and straight through enemy lines.

Overview

User Rating:
8.2/10   54,304 votes »
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Popularity: ?
Up 83% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Writers:
Buster Keaton (written by) and
Clyde Bruckman (written by) ...
(more)
Contact:
View company contact information for The General on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
24 February 1927 (France) See more »
Genre:
Tagline:
Buster drives "The General" to trainload of laughter. (Trade paper ad). See more »
Plot:
When Union spies steal an engineer's beloved locomotive, he pursues it single-handedly and straight through enemy lines. Full summary » | Full synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
Awards:
2 wins & 1 nomination See more »
User Reviews:
Great physical comedy See more (241 total) »

Cast

  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Buster Keaton ... Johnnie Gray

Marion Mack ... Annabelle Lee
Glen Cavender ... Captain Anderson

Jim Farley ... General Thatcher
Frederick Vroom ... A Southern General
Charles Henry Smith ... Annabelle's Father (as Charles Smith)
Frank Barnes ... Annabelle's Brother
Joe Keaton ... Union General

Mike Donlin ... Union General
Tom Nawn ... Union General
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Henry Baird ... Soldier (uncredited)
Joe Bricher ... Soldier (uncredited)
Jimmy Bryant ... Raider (uncredited)
Sergeant Bukowski ... Officer (uncredited)
C.C. Cruson ... Officer (uncredited)
Jack Dempster ... Raider (uncredited)
Keith Fennell ... Soldier (uncredited)
Budd Fine ... Raider (uncredited)
Eddie Foster ... Union Railroad Fireman (uncredited)
Ronald Gilstrap ... Union Soldier (uncredited)

Frank Hagney ... Confederate Recruiter (uncredited)
Ray Hanford ... Raider (uncredited)
Jack Hanlon ... Bit Part (uncredited)
Al Hanson ... Raider (uncredited)
Anthony Harvey ... Raider (uncredited)

Edward Hearn ... Union Officer (uncredited)

Boris Karloff ... Union General (uncredited) (unconfirmed)
Hilliard Karr ... Soldier (uncredited)
Elgin Lessley ... Union General Who Gives Command to Cross Bridge (uncredited)
Louis Lewyn ... Soldier (uncredited)
Jackie Lowe ... Boy Who Follows Johnny (uncredited)
Billy Lynn ... Soldier (uncredited)
Ross McCutcheon ... Raider (uncredited)
Tom Moran ... Raider (uncredited)
Charles Phillips ... Raider (uncredited)
Red Rial ... Raider (uncredited)

Al St. John ... Officer on Horseback (uncredited)
Harold Terry ... Union Soldier (uncredited)
Ray Thomas ... Raider (uncredited)
Red Thompson ... Raider (uncredited)
James Walsh ... Soldier (uncredited)
John Wilson ... Union Soldier (uncredited)
Jean Woodward ... Undetermined Role (uncredited)

Directed by
Clyde Bruckman 
Buster Keaton 
 
Writing credits
Buster Keaton (written by) and
Clyde Bruckman (written by)

Al Boasberg (adapted by) and
Charles Henry Smith (adapted by) (as Charles Smith)

William Pittenger  book "Daring and Suffering: a History of the Great Railroad Adventure" (uncredited)
William Pittenger  memoir "The Great Locomotive Chase" (uncredited)
Paul Girard Smith  uncredited

Produced by
David Shepard .... video producer (2003 alternate version)
Buster Keaton .... producer (uncredited)
Joseph M. Schenck .... executive producer (uncredited)
Joseph M. Schenck .... producer (uncredited)
 
Original Music by
The Alloy Orchestra (2003 alternate version)
Carl Davis (1987)
Robert Israel (1995 New Score)
Joe Hisaishi (uncredited)
 
Cinematography by
Bert Haines (photographed by)
Devereaux Jennings (photographed by) (as Dev Jennings)
 
Film Editing by
Buster Keaton (uncredited)
Sherman Kell (uncredited)
 
Art Direction by
Fred Gabourie (uncredited)
 
Set Decoration by
Harry Roselotte (uncredited)
 
Makeup Department
Bennie Hubbel .... assistant makeup artist (uncredited)
J.K. Pitcarin .... makeup artist (uncredited)
Fred Carlton Ryle .... makeup artist (uncredited)
 
Production Management
Lou Anger .... production supervisor (uncredited)
Fred Gabourie .... production manager (uncredited)
 
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Harry Barnes .... first assistant director (uncredited)
Glen Cavender .... second unit director (uncredited)
Edward Hearn .... assistant director: Oregon (uncredited)
 
Art Department
Frank Barnes .... construction foreman (uncredited)
Jack Coyle .... carpenter (uncredited)
William Ernshaw .... bridge timber crew (uncredited)
Al Gilmour .... production buyer (uncredited)
Mike Graves .... assistant property master (uncredited)
Bert Jackson .... property master (uncredited)
H.L. Jennings .... bridge and dam construction (uncredited)
George E. Potter .... bridge timber contractor (uncredited)
Billy Wood .... chief draughtsman (uncredited)
 
Special Effects by
Jack Little .... special effects (uncredited)
 
Stunts
Buster Keaton .... stunts (uncredited)
Earl Mohan .... stunt double: Tom Moran (uncredited)
 
Camera and Electrical Department
Denver Harmon .... lighting effects
Frank Barnes .... grip (uncredited)
Dal Clawson .... still photographer (uncredited)
Elmer Ellsworth .... camera operator (uncredited)
Denver Harmon .... chief lighting technician (uncredited)
Byron Houck .... camera operator (uncredited)
Byron Houck .... still photographer (uncredited)
Ed Levy .... assistant chief lighting technician (uncredited)
William Piltz .... still photographer (uncredited)
Melbourne Spurr .... publicity photographer (uncredited)
Harry J. Wild .... assistant camera (uncredited)
 
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Bennie Hubbel .... assistant wardrobe (uncredited)
J.K. Pitcarin .... wardrobe (uncredited)
Fred Carlton Ryle .... assistant wardrobe (uncredited)
 
Editorial Department
Harry Barnes .... assistant editor (uncredited)
D.C. Cardinali .... colorist: remastered hd version: new version (uncredited)
Sherman Kell .... assistant editor (uncredited)
 
Location Management
Bert Jackson .... location manager (uncredited)
 
Music Department
Robert Israel .... music arranger: 1995 alternate version
Robert Israel .... music director: 1995 alternate version
Hiroyuki Akita .... music engineer: Joe Hisaishi score (uncredited)
James C. Bradford .... music compiler (uncredited)
Suminobu Hamada .... Joe Hisaishi Score (uncredited)
Suminobu Hamada .... music engineer (uncredited)
Suminobu Hamada .... music mixer (uncredited)
Joe Hisaishi .... Joe Hisaishi Score (uncredited)
Joe Hisaishi .... conductor (uncredited)
Joe Hisaishi .... music arranger (uncredited)
Joe Hisaishi .... music producer (uncredited)
Joe Hisaishi .... musician (uncredited)
Joe Hisaishi .... orchestrator (uncredited)
Scott Joplin .... composer: additional music (uncredited)
Ikuko Okamoto .... Joe Hisaishi Score (uncredited)
Ikuko Okamoto .... music production manager (uncredited)
William P. Perry .... composer: new piano score (uncredited)
Nic Raine .... orchestrator: Carl Davis score (uncredited)
 
Other crew
Fred Gabourie .... technical director
Joseph M. Schenck .... presents
Lou Anger .... production accountant: Los Angeles (uncredited)
Dr. Axley .... first aid (uncredited)
Harry Brand .... production coordinator (uncredited)
Harry Brand .... unit publicist (uncredited)
Betty Cavender .... production secretary (uncredited)
Glen Cavender .... technical advisor (uncredited)
John W. Considine Jr. .... assistant production coordinator (uncredited)
Jack Dempster .... engineer (uncredited)
Christine Francis .... script supervisor (uncredited)
Dr. Frost .... first aid (uncredited)
Wesley G. Gilmour .... production accountant: Oregon (uncredited)
L.L. Graham .... production assistant: Oregon (uncredited)
Bob Holmes .... production assistant: Oregon (uncredited)
Ralph Land .... chef (uncredited)
Fred A. Lowry .... brakeman (uncredited)
George E. Potter .... caterer (uncredited)
Viola Riddle .... cook: Mr. Keaton (uncredited)
Willie Riddle .... assistant: Mr. Keaton (uncredited)
Dee Wright .... wrangler (uncredited)
Fred Wright .... chief mechanic (uncredited)
Fred Wright .... fire fighter (uncredited)
 
Crew verified as complete


Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
Runtime:
67 min | Australia:107 min | Spain:80 min (1982 version) | Spain:83 min (1962 version) | USA:75 min (2003 alternate version) | 78 min (24 fps)
Country:
Language:
Color:
Black and White (Sepiatone)
Aspect Ratio:
1.33 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Certification:
Australia:G | Finland:S | Norway:7 (original rating) | Norway:A (re-rating) (2004) | Portugal:M/6 (DVD rating) | Portugal:17 (director's cut) | South Korea:All (2002) | Sweden:Btl | UK:U | USA:Unrated | USA:TV-G (TV rating) | West Germany:6

Did You Know?

Trivia:
Florida State University commissioned composer Jeff Beal to write a brand-new soundtrack for this film. It was premiered by the University Philharmonia along with the original film playing just above the orchestra.See more »
Goofs:
Anachronisms: The pistol Johnnie uses near the end of the film to arrest the Yankee officer in the cab of the General is a Colt revolver from the 1870s.See more »
Quotes:
[first lines]
Annabelle's brother:Fort Sumter has been fired upon.
Mr. Lee:Then the war is here.
Annabelle's brother:Yes, dad, and I'm going to be one of the first to enlist.
See more »
Movie Connections:

FAQ

Why is the music so bad?
Why do distributors add music to silent films?
Why does the print look so bad?
See more »
5 out of 5 people found the following review useful.
Great physical comedy, 5 November 2007
Author: refresh daemon from United States

Buster Keaton always amazes me. He was truly one of the most hilarious deadpan screen clowns of early cinema. And The General, even clocking in at around three hours, is surprisingly watchable based on his physical performance alone.

Granted, I still admit that I prefer the silent clowns in shorts, because it can be a bit exhausting to watch them in an entire feature, especially since they are often strings of vignettes thrown together and my modern brain prefers to edit out everything that's unnecessary, but some of the joy in these films is found in those very moments. There are multiple points in the General, a story about a Southern engineer that has to rescue his beloved from the clutches of the North in the Civil War, where Keaton's character, Johnnie Gray, has to stop his train, jump out, and remove something from the tracks, which in itself can be quite boring, but the way that Keaton injects physical comedy into those moments keeps me entertained.

And it's a marvel how so many realistic, yet comedic stunts that Keaton could come up with. It's nothing fantastic like some of his other films, but it's still funny. And I think the strongest point of his comedy is his completely stonefaced response to all adversity--but he lets you see just a little his plight in his eyes and it's just enough to know that he is frightened, but that the rest of him doesn't react similarly creates such an amusing dissociation that it goes from bizarre to funny. Whether he's pratfalling due to surprise or erroneously succeeding at something he's unskilled in and being shocked by it, that response of his is winning.

But the General does show its age a little. It exists in a time when people were still getting quite used to movies and so there is a lot of space that doesn't get edited out to help people get a better sense of the context. I wouldn't dare cut those moments out of this film, even if I could re-edit it, because the space always had something going on, but at the same time, this film, if made today, would be cut to one-and-a-half, or two hours and pack in the comedy more tightly. The plot and story are simple, but exist more than to just help the comedy move along--except at the end when the first story was accomplished. Then we move into a second extraneous, but still amusing, story regarding a battle between the North and the South that could've been excised and still having a decent, though simple, story.

I didn't really love the score that the DVD company attached to it, which is a number of classical pieces end on end. I think a new commissioned soundtrack would've better matched the piece, but I guess we get what we get. And on the plus side, you can always mute the movie and play whatever on top of it.

Is it perfect? No. But despite the age it shows, it still holds up as an enjoyable work from one of cinema's greatest physical comedians. If you want to spend three hours with a silent clown, this is not a bad way to go. 8/10.

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