If there’s one thing that has to be said about Buster Keaton’s “The General”, it’s that it is pure movie magic. The film centers on a train engineer named Johnny Gray (Buster Keaton), his beloved train- for which the film is named- and his girl, Annabelle (Marion Mack). At the start, Keaton’s character happily goes about doing his job. But soon, war breaks out, and men from all over rush to enlist and support the southern cause. Johnny is turned away by recruiters, and not much later on, his engine is stolen by a group of scheming Union soldiers. With great determination, he goes after them- not knowing that his other beloved has been captured as well. This is where the conflict in the story lies, and Keaton directs all the action superbly.
With a plot that could have easily been played as a story of heartbreak and tragedy, Keaton went the other way with it, including scene after scene of uproarious gags.
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