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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:
8.3/10   43,250 votes »
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Down 6% 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:
An instant favorite See more (227 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)
Sherman Kell .... assistant editor (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)
Bert Jackson .... location manager (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:
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:
Based on a true incident during the Civil War. In April 1862, Union agent James J. Andrews led a squad of 21 soldiers on a daring secret raid. Dressed in civilian clothes, Andrews and his men traveled by rail into the Southern states. Their mission was to sabotage rail lines and disrupt the Confederate army's supply chain. At the town of Little Shanty, GA, the raiders stole a locomotive known as "The General." They headed north, tearing up track, burning covered bridges and cutting telegraph lines along the way. William Fuller and Jeff Cain, the conductor and engineer of "The General," pursued the stolen train by rail and foot. They first used a hand-cart (as Buster Keaton does in the film), then a small work locomotive called "The Yonah," which they borrowed from a railroad work crew, and finally a full-sized Confederate army locomotive called "The Texas," which pursued "The General" for 51 miles - in reverse. During the chase, Confederate soldiers were able to repair the sabotaged telegraph wires and send messages ahead of the raiders. Andrews and his men were intercepted and captured near Chattanooga, TN, by a squad of Confederate troops led by Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest (who, after the war, was one of the founders of the Ku Klux Klan). Tried as spies, Andrews and seven of his raiders were hanged (a special gallows was built to hold all eight men). The rest of the raiders were traded in a prisoner exchange. In 1863 the survivors of the mission were awarded the first Medals of Honor (Andrews and the raiders who had been hanged later received the MoH posthumously).See more »
Goofs:
Anachronisms: The Texas engine's cab is notably round with rivets, clearly a steel cab found on engines of 1880s to 1890s vintage.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:
Featured in Hugo (2011)See more »

FAQ

Did the original audiences for silent movies hear musical accompaniment?
Why is the music so bad?
What's the name of that thing Buster Keaton is sitting on?
See more »
16 out of 17 people found the following review useful.
An instant favorite, 27 January 2008
Author: vovazhd from United States

I haven't had so much fun watching a movie for a long time. The General is a silent comedy (mostly slapstick) about Johnny Gray, a train engineer with two loves: his engine and Annabelle Lee. Annabelle soon dumps him because of his failure to enlist into the Civil War (they would not take him because he was too valuable as an engineer). Things are then sped up a year, where we see some Union commanders planning to hijack a train to unleash a highly sophisticated master plan. As it so happens, they steal Johnny's engine, a big mistake.

Buster Keaton does a phenomenal performance as Johnny. His face and character is ideal for this type of comedy. He reminds me a lot of Leslie Nielsen from the Naked Gun movies (but, of course, less old). He is often ignorant of what is going on around him, leading to plenty of laughs. This also makes him a very charismatic character.

There are countless train related jokes. The first one comes right at the beginning, when we see Johnny being followed by two kids and a woman, in a line much like a train. The bulk of the movie is made up of Johnny running a train, either chasing or fleeing from the Union soldiers. The movement and maneuvering of the trains is beautiful. The stunt work is an incredible accomplishment. The finale is explosive.

The General was a lot of fun to watch. It gave me more laughs than most modern comedies, and had plenty of substance on top of that. This is enough for me to label it as one of the greatest comedies ever. After my first viewing, it instantly became one of my favorites. It is timeless gem that should be watched at least once by anyone interested in movies.

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Can someone explain to me why this is so great? TheLamplightersSerenade
Am I just imagining it... sickeningjar
Your Top ten favorite silent films SakowskyBrothers
Score one for digital distribution (Netflix et. al) daddie0
Time Discrepancies christianjbrooks
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