Monday, November 18, 2013

The General

When it comes to films of the silent era, that is something I'll openly admit to being a beginner to. The only titles to have been seen by me include the likes The Gold Rush, Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans and Pandora's Box. Suffice to say I need to fix that.

One legend of the silent film era I so needed to catch up on was Buster Keaton. There are some disputes over whether he or Charlie Chaplin was the true master of the silent comedy. Those disputes alone convinced me I needed to see something of Keaton's.

So what better Keaton film to start with than The General? (Always start with the more prominent film, that's what I always follow.) And boy, it is funny. (Certainly not something you'd say about a film set during the Civil War.)

In my eyes, the best comedy can be found in the form of a reaction shot. With a number of silent films (particularly comedies), such shots are usually over-the-top. Thanks to Keaton being, well, himself, these shots are just gold. All it took was a very subtle change in his stoic expression to get a laugh.

Anyway, The General is proof on how to make a great comedy. (I was also very impressed by his stunt work throughout.) This just convinced me I need to see more of Keaton's work. (And I think I'm taking a shine to him more than Chaplin.)

My Rating: *****

1 comment:

  1. Many enjoyable hours to come, it looks like. Also, check out this overview of his career by Kevin Brownlow:


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