The General [Blu-ray]
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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.
- 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
Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
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.Read more ›
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Every once in a while a silent movie is just what one needs (or at least, me!). I usually turn off the music, but I let it play for a while and found I enjoyed how the music... Read morePublished 14 days ago by Darold
A seamless comic masterpiece, based on history, with the unsentimental deadpan Keaton. This film is one of the greats. Drop any prejudices against silent film and see this! Read morePublished 14 days ago by Gavranot
I enjoyed this silent film starring Buster Keaton in a non-comedic role. It is set in the era of the Civil War and i imagine when it was made there were many people who had... Read morePublished 20 days ago by elkseagull
One of the funniest and most accurate historical films that I have seen. Keaton took an incident in the Civil War and made a full length silent movie that holds up fine after all... Read morePublished 2 months ago by kathi harris
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