The Return of The General and The Railrodder

(Short films to introduce Buster Keaton’s The General)

Admission free
Film: digital presentation
Duration: 35 minutes


This session is a most enjoyable introduction to the main feature, Buster Keaton’s The General. The General is in fact the name of a steam locomotive used in a military raid during the American Civil War in 1862, which became known a the Great Locomotive Chase.

Keaton based his entertaining comedy on these historic facts, therefore it is of special interest to see The Return of the General which shows in ten short minutes the story and restoration of this fine and famous locomotive.

   The Return of The General

11 Minutes

1962 publicity film documentary by the Louisville & Tennessee Railroad showcases the restored engine.

   The Railrodder

24 Minutes

This 25-minute Canadian promotional short from 1965 is known as one of Keaton’s most Keatonesque works from his later life. It is a National Film Board of Canada production of Buster going coast to coast the second short film in this session is one of Buster Keaton’s last short comedies which incorporates both railroad adventure and Keaton’s unique style with trademark porkpie hat and deadpan expression. It has all the characteristics of Keaton’s great comedies: unpredictable, hilariously absurd and impossible events – a proven universal formula for fun and laughs! On a handcar.

With the generous assistance of David Shepard and Blackhawk Films the Festival proudly presents two documentaries rarely seen yet appropriate bookends to Buster’s masterpiece.