The General (1926) Poster



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  • The following FAQ entries may contain spoilers. Only the biggest ones (if any) will be covered with spoiler tags. Spoiler tags are used sparingly in order to make the page more readable. Edit

  • They're his fan club, of sorts. A train engineer was very likely to attract admiration from young boys. Also, they serve a dramatic function: they show the fundamental decency of Johnnie (Buster Keaton), who doesn't just tell them to get lost when he's trying to court his girl. The scene also shows Johnnie's cleverness as he contrives a gentler way to get rid of them. Edit

  • Buster, dejected over losing his girl, sits on his train's connecting rod. The train starts moving. Buster, deep in reverie, doesn't notice. He snaps out of it and looks around frantically just as the train passes into the enginehouse. This was a risky stunt. If the wheels had slipped, he'd have been thrown. Edit

  • The train crash cost came to $42,000 ($1.7 million at 1995 price levels), making it the most expensive single shot in all of silent films. That figure did not include disposal of the wreckage. Not until World War II would the Texas's rusty carcass be salvaged for scrap metal. Source: Marion Meade, Buster Keaton, Cut to the Chase, London, 1995, p. 166 Edit

  • This film is in the public domain, which means that anyone can legally distribute a video copy without paying royalties. Only a few will take the trouble to find a good print or spend money improving the one they have. You may find the film on any number of cheaply-priced discs. Finding a copy with good picture and sound is another matter. Shop around. Edit

  • The General (1927) has no music score. It's a silent film. The music you're hearing was added by its distributor. The quality of the music on DVDs of silent movies varies from distributor to distributor. Some record original scores, some carefully piece together a score from public domain sources and some slap on an irrelevant soundtrack. This film does have good distributors that use good music scores. Shop around. Edit

  • Try watching a silent film without one. When the music is good, it adds to your enjoyment of the film. Even a mediocre score is better than nothing. Edit

  • Yes. Silent movies were shown with live musical accompaniment, which meant anything from a single pianist to a full orchestra, depending on what theater you attended. Edit



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