The General is a 1926 American silent comedy film released by United Artists. It was inspired by the Great Locomotive Chase, a true story of an event that occurred during the American Civil War. The story was adapted from the memoir The Great Locomotive Chase by William Pittenger. The film stars Buster Keaton who co-directed it with Clyde Bruckman.At the time of its initial release, The General, an action-adventure-comedy made toward the end of the silent era, was not well received by critics and audiences, resulting in mediocre box office returns (about half a million dollars domestically, and approximately one million worldwide). Because of its then-huge budget ($750,000 supplied by Metro chief Joseph Schenck) and failure to turn a significant profit, Keaton lost his independence as a filmmaker and was forced into a restrictive deal with MGM. In 1954 the film entered the public domain (in the USA), owing to the claimant’s failure to renew its copyright registration in the 28th year after publication.The General has since been reevaluated, and is now often ranked among the greatest American films ever made.
On Saturday 21st November 2020, the Wireless Hill Museum will be presenting “The General”, one of the most revered comedies of the silent era.
This 1926 classic film finds hapless Southern railroad engineer Johnny Gray (Buster Keaton) facing off against Union soldiers during the American Civil War. When Johnny’s fiancée, Annabelle Lee (Marion Mack), is accidentally taken away while on a train stolen by Northern forces, Gray pursues the soldiers, using various modes of transportation in comic action scenes that highlight Keaton’s boundless wit and dexterity.
The screening will be introduced by Roy Mudge, the Curator of the Pictures in Motion Film and Television Museum.