The General – 1927 (USA)

A short introduction will be given by Orson Welles, preeminent figure of world cinema.

Starring Buster Keaton

Tickets: $25/$15 Concession
Film: digital presentation of restored film
Duration: 75 minutes

Live music: accompanist Professor Robert Constable

Presenter:  Bruce Elder, Senior Entertainment Writer with the Sydney Morning Herald


Buster Keaton ranks as one of the world’s most famous and best loved comedians alongside Charlie Chaplin, and The General has frequently been listed in the top ten best films of all time.

While both comedians made their mark in short slapstick comedies of ten to twenty minutes in length, they both successfully progressed to producing and directing more complex and artistic feature-length films during the 1920s.

Much more than just a simple comedy, The General combines an accurate historic drama with romance and thrilling action and adventure as Buster plays the engineer of a steam locomotive who finds himself caught in the middle of the American Civil War.

Authentic steam engines feature prominently in this special film as stunts and action sequences between man and machine are impressively choreographed to provide the viewer with a fun adventure ride. When his steam engine called The General is taken by the enemy, Buster pursues them and rescues his sweetheart who had been captured by them, and on his return inadvertently becomes a hero.

A sweet story is enhanced by the ever-popular character Buster created: the deadpan look with never a hint of a smile, but loveable just the same, as his antics and physical dexterity make the underdog come up on top and win everyone’s heart.

Sydney-born Frank S Hagney has an uncredited role here as a Confederate officer. He appeared in over 350 films between 1919 and 1966, including It's A Wonderful Life, Modern Times and Gunfight at the OK Corral.