The General (1926)

96EPISODE # 28: THE GENERAL (1926) is a silent film that is based on The Great Locomotive Chase, an actual event that happened in 1862 in Georgia during the Civil War. Buster Keaton plays train engineer Johnnie, who loves his fiancée, Annabelle, and his engine, The General. When the war breaks out, he goes to enlist, but is turned down because they need him to stay in his current job. They don’t tell him this; they toss him out, and his fiancée is like, “I don’t wanna see your face unless you’re in uniform.” A year later, Annabelle gets word that her dad, who is in the army, is wounded and travels on The General to see him. When the train makes a stop everybody gets off for a meal and Union spies steal the train, making Annabelle a prisoner. Johnnie springs into action to rescue his two loves… James and Lara agree that THE GENERAL is a must-see for anyone for anyone who is interested in film. Buster was known as The Great Stone Face for his ability to never crack a smile, and it is a treat to see him in action; he was a writer, director, producer, and actor who also did his own stunts (!!!). THE GENERAL features the most expensive scene in silent film history and is regarded by many as a brilliant classic, but it was such a flop at the time it was released that it sent Buster’s career into a tailspin. We discuss all this and more, including Buster’s real name.

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