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30 General, The 1926 
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Post 30 General, The 1926
From Zeppelin on the Cinematic Journey

Last night I watched No. 30 on the list, my first silent feature-length The General. The General is considered by many to be one of the funniest movies ever made, and on this count I must respectfully disagree. However, many people also claim that The General is a great movie, and this is something I feel much better agreeing with. While I never laughed out loud at Buster Keaton's wacky antics, I did find myself enthralled by the adventure of the story, and occasionally even moved.

Although I didn't laugh much at the General, I did smile often. Keaton makes a good klutz, and his "stone-face" expression does more for the funny bone than your typical over-the-top physical comedy. In fact, I found the funniest moments to just be his facial reactions to some of the story's wacky events. I think there is something almost modern about Keaton's subtle style of acting, and it doesn't really surprise me that he has aged so well.

As I said earlier though, my biggest draw to The General wasn't the comedy, but the adventure. The General is a generally exciting movie, and that's a good thing, considering the middle is mostly comprised of chase scenes. Keaton and co. vary these scenes up enough that they never become boring. Not only that, but the battle at the end manages to be a suitably epic affair, something I wasn't expecting considering the time The General was made. Also, although it doesn't play as large a part, I was also occasionally moved by the story's romance (particularly the shot of Keaton spotting Annabelle through the cigar-burned table cloth. It was a touching moment and an ingenious way of making use of a past gag). Even though he is a goofball, Keaton's Johnnie Gray is an insanely likable character, and watching single-handily winning a major battle was a stirring affair. I just feel bad for him that soon after he finally became a soldier his side lost. Oh well, he'll never know.

The General is a successful combination of many different elements, and in the end became a highly entertaining way to spend 75 minutes. It's funny, exciting, and touching, and all without dialogue. 8/10


Tue Jul 21, 2009 1:46 am
Post Re: 30 General, The 1926
I agree with Zep, but liked it a little more than he did.

The General works less as a comedy (though there are a few chuckles throughout) and more as an action/adventure. Keaton deserves much praise not only for his acting (or his reactions?) but for the numerous life threatening stunts he performs. The structure of the film is interesting too. Keaton spends the first half of the film doing the chasing, then, after a short interlude, it is he who is being chased.

Overall, this is one of the better films I've seen, silent or talkie. 9/10.


Sat Sep 05, 2009 4:03 pm
Post Re: 30 General, The 1926
If only for the nail-biting stunts, i give this movie a 10/10...
Same reasoning in my rating for Safety Last...


Fri Nov 20, 2009 6:04 pm
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