Stereoactive Movie Club Ep 9 // The General

Directed by Buster Keaton and Clyde Bruckman, 1926's 'The General' stars the stone-faced comedian performing unbelievable stunts aboard a Confederate train.

Stereoactive Movie Club Ep 9 // The General
Stereoactive Movie Club Round Two (Stephen's Pick)
Available on Goodpods, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and anywhere else you listen to podcasts.

It’s Stephen’s 2nd pick: ‘The General,’ the 1926 film directed by Buster Keaton and Clyde Bruckman – and of course also starring Buster Keaton. It’s an action comedy set during the Civil War and largely centered around a stolen train and plenty of stunt work. The movie was released at the very end of the silent film era and was a commercial disappointment, thanks in no small part to its large-for-the-time budget of $750,000. Critical reception was also less than stellar, with reviews in several major papers saying that it wasn’t up to the quality of Katon’s previous work or that it just wasn’t all that funny. The critical and financial failure helped to effectively end Keaton’s independence. And while the film opened in some theaters around Christmas in 1926, it mostly opened and played in 1927, so the top-grossing film of that year was The Jazz Singer, which of course introduced synced sound to cinema, thus beginning the end of the silent era… Despite all that, over the years, The General has earned a reputation as a classic silent film and a classic comedy. It ranked #18 on both the AFI’s main list of great films in 2007 and it’s list of great comedies in 2000. And for our purposes, the film has made Sight and Sound magazine’s critics poll of the “greatest films ever made” twice… at #8 in 1972, then at #10 in 1982.

For more information on this podcast, including where it's available, please visit the show's homepage.