99- The General [9.5]

Johnny Gray, a Southern railroad engineer who loves his train engine, The General, almost as much as he loves Annabelle Lee. When the opening shots of the Civil War are fired at Fort Sumter, Johnny tries to enlist — and he is deemed too useful as an engineer to be a soldier. All Johnny knows is that he’s been rejected, and Annabelle, thinking him a coward, turns her back on him.

There are stunts in The General that blew me away for a movie that is approximately eighty-five years old; moreover, I was taken aback by just how damn funny the whole thing was. There are an abundance of legends in the silent era, but Buster Keaton may be my favorite. His stone face reactions are in stark contrast to the explosions and absurdities around him, causing a hilarious disparity. The General isn’t just an exercise in nostalgic pleasure, but rather, a masterpiece of humor that has stood the test of time.



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