The stone-faced Buster Keaton plays Johnnie Grey, and the beautifully composed Marion Mack plays Annabelle Lee, in Keaton and Bruckman’s 1926 classic film The Genernal. Johnnie falls in love with a lady and a train(!) and so begins one of the finest examples of silent film in our time. Set during the American Civil War, most of the action involves Keaton and a train called The General (link to Rotten Tomatoes review, 8.9/10). This film combines slap-stick, action, romance, suspense, trepidation, excitement, and much more. All the while we can’t forget this is a silent film which makes the accomplished result seem all the more impressive.
Watch this introduction to Buster Keaton by Orson Welles who knew Keaton personally at one time. As the introduction begins Welles refers to Keaton “the greatest of all the clowns in the history of all the cinema”.
In fact, what does it matter what we have to say, if you’ve got the time, sit down and make your way through a bunch of Keaton footage. Take in just how good he was (and always will be). Click here for a link to a Keaton search results page from Youtube.