Whenever I turn on a silent movie, I just kind of assume their will be a short man with fancy clothes and a Hitler mustauche, it’s just how that works. But in a Buster Keaton movie that doesn’t happen, so instead of diving into the movie, I had to spend a few minutes trying to figure out if I like this Keaton fellow. It turns out the man never smiles which makes him a million times less cute than the Tramp.
So basically, The General is about a Southern train engineer (Buster Keaton) who tries to rescue his train, and ultimately his girl, from a group of northern soldiers during the Civil War. Being a current northerner, I’ve never really seen a movie in which the north is seen as the villain. I mean I’m sure people feel that way, but you don’t really see yourself as the villain in movies.
The girl in the movie wasn’t super awesome either. The whole reason she didn’t want to be with Buster Keaton was because he wasn’t soldier. I totally understand if he had never enlisted because he didn’t have any courage, but Keaton went and he got rejected, and she just didn’t believe him. Not cool silent movie girl, not cool. That’s why I was super happy that Keaton was originally going after his train and no the girl, because clearly she is all about the dollar signs.
Obviously today this movie wouldn’t be super impressive, I mean Matt Damon does like a million times this much in the first five minutes of The Bourne Ultimatum, but this movie was made in 1926, so I guess I’ll let it slide. What is super impressive was the fact that Buster Keaton did all of his own stunts, like casually jumping train cars and all that jazz. I’m assuming it was his willingness to do crazy stunts, because it obviously wasn’t his winning smile.
I mean I can see why this movie is a classic, with all the crazy things it did that were unique for the time. But to be honest, if I’m going to watch a silent movie, I would prefer someone a little trampier.
Rating: 3 out of times 5 Keaton didn’t smile.