THE GENERAL (1926)

Dir. Clyde Bruckman, Buster Keaton

Buster Keaton's personal favorite of all his films and one of the funniest silent comedies of all time gets a makeover in this world premiere of a new restoration. Keaton took $400,000 into the Oregon countryside to film this fact-based tale of the theft of a Confederate locomotive during the Civil War. He chose Oregon because of its proximity to Hollywood and because the state still had several miles of narrow gauge railroad tracks, which were necessary for the antique trains used during shooting. Then, he used crisp black-and-white images to mirror Matthew Brady's legendary Civil War photos. As in many of his films, Keaton constructed his gags on a grand scale, using real trains rather than miniatures. The shot of one train crashing through a bridge was the most expensive in silent screen history. Sadly, that expense, coupled with negative reviews, made the film a box-office failure and cost the star his autonomy as a filmmaker. It wasn't until the '50s that audiences rediscovered what now ranks as one of the masterpieces of silent comedy. This presentation will feature a live musical score written and performed by the world-renowned Alloy Orchestra.

In attendance: Alloy Orchestra.

THE GENERAL
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