Featured with A Trip to the Moon, I saw this on actual film with an actual organist. It’s a comedy that’s actually comedic, not like what we have today.
Buster Keaton plays a train engineer who wants to enlist for the Civil War. He’s rejected as he sees fellow men going off to war, not to mention that his fiancee won’t speak to him until he’s in uniform. One year later, some Union spies plan to steal The General, Keaton’s train. Keaton’s fiancee is also on the train and it’s a race to take over and save the day.
What’s interesting about this is that Buster Keaton does all of his own stunts. The film’s climax is one where you have to see it to believe it, especially for 1926. The film was a box office bomb upon first release but it has been within the past few decades that it has received acclaim.
When I went, people laughed. It was the good kind of laugh because what was shown on screen was actually funny. It’s not every day that you see a comedy taking place during the Civil War. It’s on DVD and Blu-ray but you’re better off seeing it on film if at all possible.
1001 MYMSBYD selection
IMDB Top 250
AFI Top 100 (2007): #18
400 Nominations selection for AFI Top 100 for both years