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Consistently ranked among the greatest films ever made, Buster Keaton's The General is so brilliantly conceived and executed that it continues to inspire awe and laughter with every viewing. Rejected by the Confederate army as unfit and taken for a coward by his beloved Annabelle Lee (Marian Mack), young Johnnie Gray (Keaton) sets out to single-handedly win the war with the help of his cherished locomotive. What follows is, without exaggeration, probably the most cleverly choreographed comedy ever recorded on celluloid. Johnnie wages war against hijackers, an errant cannon, and the unpredictable hand of fate while roaring along the iron rails -- exploiting the comic potential of Keaton's favorite filmic prop: the train. Insisting on accuracy in every detail, Keaton created a remarkably authentic historical epic, replete with hundreds of costumed extras, full-scale sets, and the breathtaking plunge of an actual locomotive from a burning bridge into a river. "Every shot has the authenticity and the unassuming correct compostion of a Matthew Brady Civil War photograph," wrote film historian David Robinson, "No one - not even Griffith or Huston and certainly not Fleming (Gone With The Wind) -- caught the visual aspect of the Civil War as Keaton did." In addition to the feature, this DVD also contains two Keaton short films. * In The Playhouse (Dir. Buster Keaton, Eddie Cline. U.S. 1921. 23 mins. B&W. Music arranged by Robert Israel.), a technical tour-de-force, Keaton portrays every member of a stage company, the entire audience, and an undisciplined chimp, to boot (in one scene appearing simultaneously as nine characters)! * Cops (Dir. Buster Keaton, Eddie Cline. U.S. 1922. 18 mins. B&W. Musical setting by Gaylord Carter.) is the quintessential chase film ("The best short he ever made," according to The Complete Films of Buster Keaton), with Buster tumbling into a series of marvelous mishaps while fleeing hundreds of uniformed policemen.

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KI131 General DVD (1926/Buster Keaton) $24.95 $22.45