Comedy – Buster Keaton – The General


Orson Welles stated that Keaton’s The General is “the greatest comedy ever made, the greatest Civil War film ever made, and perhaps the greatest film ever made”.   A 2012 worldwide poll by Sight & Sound ranked Keaton’s The General as the 34th greatest film and the top comedy.  The magazine’s 2002 poll ranked it #15 and the highest-rated comedy   Aside from Steamboat Bill Jr. (1928)….Keaton’s most enduring feature-length films include Our Hospitality (1923), The Navigator (1924), Sherlock Jr. (1924),Seven Chances (1925), The Cameraman (1928), and The General (1926).  The General was set during the American Civil War….combined physical comedy with Keaton’s love of trains….including an epic locomotive chase.  Employing picturesque locations….the film’s story line reenacted an actual wartime incident.  Though it would come to be regarded as Keaton’s greatest achievement….the film received mixed reviews at the time.  It was too dramatic for some film goers expecting a lightweight comedy….and reviewers questioned Keaton’s judgment in making a comedic film about the Civil War….even while noting it had a “few laughs”

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