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The General [Blu-ray]


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The General [Blu-ray] + City Lights (Criterion Collection) (Blu-ray + DVD)
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Product Details

  • Actors: Buster Keaton
  • Directors: Buster Keaton
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Blu-ray, NTSC, Silent, Surround Sound
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region A/1 (Read more about DVD/Blu-ray formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Kino Lorber films
  • DVD Release Date: November 10, 2009
  • Run Time: 78 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (230 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B002NTDX6O
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #12,610 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Special Features

None.

Editorial Reviews

MASTERED FROM A 35MM ARCHIVE PRINT STRUCK FROM THE ORIGINAL CAMERA NEGATIVE

THE NUMBER 18 GREATEST FILM OF ALL TIME (AFI 100 YEARS... 100 MOVIES)

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. This Kino Ultimate 2 Disc Edition was mastered in HD from a 35mm archive print struck from the original camera negative. Rejected by the Confederate army as unfit, and taken for a coward by his beloved Annabelle Lee (Marion Mack), young Johnny Gray (Keaton) is given a chance to redeem himself when Yankee spies steal his cherished locomotive. Johnny wages a one-man war against hijackers, an errant cannon and the unpredictable hand of fate while roaring along the iron rails. Every shot has the authenticity and the unassuming correct composition of a Mathew 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.

SPECIAL FEATURES:
- Three musical scores to choose from:
(1) Music composed and conducted by Carl Davis, performed by The Thames Silents Orchestra (in 5.1 Stereo Surround or 2.0 Stereo)
(2) Music arranged and directed by Robert Israel
(3) Theatre organ score by Lee Erwin
- A video tour of the authentic General, presented in association with The Southern Museum
- A tour of the filming locations, presented by John Bengtson, author of Silent Echoes
- Behind-the-scenes home movie footage
- Filmed introduction by Gloria Swanson
- Filmed introduction by Orson Welles
- The Buster Express, a brisk montage of train gags from throughout Keaton s career

Customer Reviews

On top of the fun story and the zany sight gags, the film just looks great.
Andrew McCaffrey
Those familiar with his scores for "Ben-Hur", "The Crowd", "The Big Parade", and many others know how he can elevate the emotion of a silent film.
M. Boxwood
The General is clearly one of the greatest silent films ever made; and one of the better films of all time to boot!
Matthew G. Sherwin

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

156 of 157 people found the following review helpful By M. Boxwood on November 16, 2008
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
It was with some trepidation and annoyance that I found myself plunking down more hard-earned money for my fourth copy of Buster Keaton's immortal silent comedy,"The General." I am pleased to report that the investment was a worthy one.
The public domain versions of this film are undeserving of comment and should be avoided at all costs. I made the misfortune mistake of buying one of these hack jobs first and was rewarded with a poor transfer with completely inappropriate music. I then purchased the double feature of "The General" and "Steamboat Bill, Jr." offered by Image. The picture quality was greatly improved in regards to clarity and contrast. My personal complaint regarding the Image version is the musical accompaniment provided by the Alloy Orchestra. Clanky and mechanical, their score is more a cacophany than a symphony and works against, rather than complements, much of the action in the film. Next, I procured Kino's original version of "The General", which, to my disappointment, was softer and less sharp than the one offered by Image. It does feature a more pleasing score by Robert Israel. This brings me to Kino's updated and restored version, and I can affirm that my quest for the best version of this film has come to an end.
Why go into such nauseating detail regarding the purchasing process? For one, it demonstrates how much I appreciate this film and how important it is to obtain it in its preeminent form. I also hope it will convince those mulling over the different available versions of this film that the Ultimate 2-Disc Edition is the version to buy.
Other reviewers have mentioned the techniques used to restore the film, and it is indeed the most lustrous version I have seen.
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48 of 48 people found the following review helpful By Dennis A. Amith TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on February 5, 2010
Format: Blu-ray
In 1927, the American silent film "The General", now known as one of the greatest films ever made, was released in theaters.

But the film starring silent film star Buster Keaton was not a big success in the box office, in fact it was a box office disaster and received negative critic reviews. But only until later would the film be seen as the ultimate classic film making it into the American Film Institute's top 100 films of all time (at #18) and was selected for preservation in the US National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant" in 1989, the first year of the registry.

VIDEO & AUDIO:

"The General" is presented in full-frame (1:33:1) and is color tinted.

I just have to say that this is the best version I have ever seen of "The General". The film was mastered in HD from a 35mm archive print struck from the original camera negative but having seen this film only on public domain video files which were never complete or had this awful fading in an out and just difficult to watch, this 1927 film looks absolutely incredible. Is it 100% pristine? No. There are white specks and occasional film wearing but for a film this old, this is expected.

If anything, I was just in awe of how incredible this film looks. The detail is amazing and the clarity, again...fantastic. As for the colors, the film has a sepia look while the night time shifts to a bluish tint (which I've read in silent film books was intentional at that time). But seriously, this is probably the best we will ever see this film for a long time.

As for the audio, KINO International gives us three optional scores to choose from.
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50 of 53 people found the following review helpful By Sean William Menzies on November 11, 2009
Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
This is a remarkable blu-ray from Kino. The image is crystal clear without any digital hardness and the fine grain of the film is retained to boot. The various scores offered (Carl Davis' being first up on the list and the perfect one to listen to)and all the suppliments from the DVD edition are offered here. The simple menu design and the directness with which the blu-ray loads are all a sharp slap in the face to the majority of lesser films released in the format that have unbearably convoluted and tediously clever menus that load slowly and ultimately result in having to shuffle through endless onscreen paperwork.

THE GENERAL is a remarkable film, more epic even than GONE WITH THE WIND, it is truly not only one of the greatest silent films ever made, but one of the greatest American films ever made, despite whatever the idiot AFI might think (they left it off of their first 100 Greatest Films of All Time list, in fact not a single Buster Keaton film made it to that list, as well as Murnau's SUNRISE). This is action/adventure of the highest order, as thrilling as RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK and even better, for it's all really there - the dam breaking, the ensuing flood, the long tracking shots with the trains chasing each other, people running through fire and exploding shells, the collapsing bridge - all of it is done in real time before the camera, no minitures, no cgi. Outstanding film, very funny, and full of jaw-dropping sequences that are enacted for real. A Buster Keaton, and an American, masterpiece.
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region coding
http://www.dvdbeaver.com/film/DVDCompare5/thegeneral.htm

This review says it's region free.
Oct 31, 2009 by M. Car |  See all 3 posts
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