#135: The General (1926)

When and how did I watch this?

May 17th, 2016, on Amazon Prime.

Had I seen this film already?

Nope.

What did I know about the movie before watching it?

Silent era film featuring Buster Keaton. That’s about it.

What do I know about it now?

This movie is a lot of fun and stupendous in so many ways.  I wasn’t exactly surprised; it’s the earliest entry on the list so far (90 years ago – wow!), and earlier movies almost always mean brilliant beyond their time. That’s exactly what it is. Every shot is done carefully. Nothing in the action is fake or forced, as they couldn’t afford many errors with how expensive film was at that time. Some of the stunts are breathtaking. Of course, what makes everything work is Keaton’s body language and facial expressions, considered legendary in this film’s time period.

What are some themes in the film?

Civil War period, pride, commitment

Did this affect me personally?

I’ve never seen a silent film in its entirety.  This one will stick for a long time.

Why is this ranked #135?

It’s one of two 1920s films on this list, and for good reason.  The action sequences are intense, Keaton is quirky and funny, and the ending is something that many films have likely borrowed.  Voters agree that this is worthy of a high rank on the list.

Did my wife watch/like it?

She loved it.  My older daughter stayed up for a bit and was equally enraptured.

Would I watch it again?

Yes, over and over again.

Would I recommend it to a friend?

Some people might say they’re not “into old movies”.  This is about as old as it gets.  But one doesn’t have to be a certain age nor favor a particular genre to appreciate this one.

Does it deserve to be on this list as one of the greatest films of all time?

It shouldn’t be left off of any lists. The degree of innovation and its timeless attributes alone deserve a nod, but there is so much more to the film, all of its subtleties, that ranks it far above others.

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