Any pre-existing stereotypes I had about silent movies were blown out of the water in this surprisingly suspenseful film.
Director and Main Character Buster Keaton cares about two things, his engine (his a train engineer) and his love for Annabel.
When Annabel insists Johnnie Gray (Keaton) enlist in the army, Grey is the first in line. After being rejected as a soldier, he is mocked by the town and rejected by Annabel.
This all changed when Gray’s train gets stolen by the North and Annabel along with it. Gray immediately chases them creating the most nail-biting following sequence.
Buster Keaton truly earned his title of the “Stone faced King” of silent movies, choosing to perform his own death-defying stunts and keeping the audience guessing what he’d do next.
The final scene was the most expensive sequence of the silent movie era, featuring a full size train falling into the Rock Bridge. With modern technology, this does not seem like a hard effect, but back in 1927 they would have actually dropped the train into the water.
Although seemingly a generic silent movie, full of “slap stick” comedy and the stereotyping of women ‘The General’ will keep you enthralled from the beginning until the end.