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AmyNicholson

Episode #87: THE GENERAL (1926)

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Inspired by Rob Molecule's too-cruel suggestion of Keaton v. Chaplin. (Which might seem less cruel once they both get an episode.)

 

Enjoy your week off from voting, since Devin is sooooooo cool and traveling all the time. We'll be back with Buster on 8/1!

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I was about to say that this will be the first silent movie, but forgot that we have also done Sunrise. Very excited for this episode!

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I'm so glad you didn't do the Keaton/Chaplin versus. It wouldn't have been fair at all to those two pioneers of comedy cinema. Now I'm wondering which Chaplin you'll pick...

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Wow thanks for going with this. I'll take it! The versus could have been cruel. Glad this will hopefully get some people to watch it for the first time. I recommend it to anyone who thinks silent movies are boring.

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YEESSSSSSSS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Keaton is one of my absolute favorites. I am beyond excited for this. The General is one of my absolute favorites. Also, my birthday is that week, and so it feels extra great to be doing this one film.

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I'm so glad you didn't do the Keaton/Chaplin versus. It wouldn't have been fair at all to those two pioneers of comedy cinema. Now I'm wondering which Chaplin you'll pick...

 

City Lights. PLEAAAAASE City Lights.

 

EDIT: And, while you're at it, Safety Last. Eventually. If you want iconic films in The Canon, Harold Lloyd produced a scene just as if not more iconic than Chaplin with the globe or Keaton with the falling house. All three of them should be known, and more to the point, recognized by/in The Canon.

 

EDIT EDIT: And maybe, in the future, we could restrict versuses to either two extremely similar films, or at least two films by the same filmmaker or with the same lead actor or something. I still love the idea of versus episodes, but, just thinking about Chaplin v Keaton, it really puts it in perspective that a versus is a very dangerous instrument. I would be miserable voting against any of their greatest films.

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Can anyone out there recommend a particular version of The General? There are several different scores available. The Carl Davis music from the Kino DVD seems to be popular, but there's also a version by Joe Hisashi I'd be interested in hearing. I kind of hate the generic ragtime piano or barrel organ that seems to accompany many silent classics.

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I watched this one for the first time a year and a half ago and liked it, but didn't love it like I fell for Sherlock, Jr. or Steamboat Bill, Jr. over the next year. I've since grown to really, really enjoy Buster Keaton even in simpler stuff like Convict 13, so I'll probably rewatch The General and try to "find the movie" for real.

 

For those who haven't seen Keaton and are put off by a feature length silent (though a trim feature) I recommend either One Week (an iconic short, and under a half hour) or Sherlock Jr. (56 minutes, Keaton really discovers some sorcery in the editing room.)

 

He's the original action hero and comedian; think of him like a deadpan Jackie Chan who always does his own stunts.

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Silent movies are a gap for me. I've never seen this one but always meant to. It's an exciting choice, and nice to see a pick from the movie suggestions.

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Oh man, The General is really a special film to me. One of my profs uses the scene with the train crashing down the bridge to demonstrate the impact of structures that aren't sound. I would watch it constantly while studying for the exam ... so, there were a lot of nerdy feelings coming up, while revisiting the film for the show. Also, on a different issue, I noticed that the damsel in distress was pretty pro-active for its time. She seems to save him about as many times as he saves her. That's something I had totally forgotten about.

 

 

City Lights. PLEAAAAASE City Lights.

 

Couldn't second that one more. City Lights might be my favorite of the Chaplin bunch. The last line always hits me in the guts.

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Oh man, The General is really a special film to me. One of my profs uses the scene with the train crashing down the bridge to demonstrate the impact of structures that aren't sound. I would watch it constantly while studying for the exam ... so, there were a lot of nerdy feelings coming up, while revisiting the film for the show. Also, on a different issue, I noticed that the damsel in distress was pretty pro-active for its time. She seems to save him about as many times as he saves her. That's something I had totally forgotten about.

That's kinda what I love about Keaton films: He loooooves women.

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