film shop, london n16 logo

General, The

General, The
Film Format: 
Keaton, Buster
United States
Buster Keaton, Marion Mack
Film Reviews: 

Keaton's finest hour..and a half.

Film Reviews: 

Other silent actors might mug to get a point across, but Keaton remained observant and collected. That's one reason his best movies have aged better than those of his rival, Charlie Chaplin. He seems like a modern visitor to the world of the silent clowns.
Consider an opening sequence in "The General'' (1927), his masterpiece about a Southern railway engineer who has "only two loves in his life'' -- his locomotive and the beautiful Annabelle Lee. Early in the film, Keaton, dressed in his Sunday best, walks to his girl's house. He is unaware that two small boys are following him, marching in lockstep--and that following them is Annabelle Lee herself (Marion Mack).
He arrives at her door. She watches unobserved. He polishes his shoes on the backs of his pants legs, and then knocks, pauses, looks about, and sees her standing right behind him. This moment would have inspired an overacted double-take from many other silent comedians. Keaton plays it with his face registering merely heightened interest.
They go inside. He sits next to her on the sofa. He becomes aware that the boys have followed them in. His face reflects slight unhappiness. He rises, puts on his hat as if to leave and opens the door, displaying such courtesy you would think the boys were his guests. The boys walk out and he closes the door on them.[Roger Ebert-Chicago Sun Times]

Film Reviews: 

Masterpiece-Show it to your kids now.

Date Arrival: 
14 October 1997

No comments

Please register or sign in to post a comment.