The General Film Analysis

492 Words2 Pages
The General
The General (1926) is a highly acclaimed movie by Buster Keaton, and one Keaton believed to be his best work. While still being a comedy movie, The General differs from Keaton’s other movies in featuring more action. Viewers can recognize the common bubbling character typical of his works, but witness a new smooth efficiency to his character’s stunts distinctive to The General. The storyline of the movie proves to be rather simple, allowing the audience to really appreciate the camera work and the theme. As the movie follows clumsy character Johnny win his sweethearts love and fight the North during the Civil War, audiences witness that anyone can be a hero.
Keaton consistently used camera angles in an essential way to his comedy
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This decision in outlook reflects the sympathetic feelings present in his time period though. People sympathized with the South’s defeat, and Keaton recognized the potential in an underdog story. This choice also served to reinforce the prevailing theme played out through Keaton’s character Johnny. This is especially manifest in the battle scene at the end of the movie. Despite outnumbering and short notice, the South is able to easily push back the North. At the same time, despite his having no soldier training, Johnny is able to help in the battle to return home a hero.
Regardless of the amazing features of this film, it was not well received at its time of release. Keaton’s well-planned action scenes were viewed as tedious and detracting from his classic comedy. The General is acclaimed for its cinematic beauty, but the audience of those days was looking for Keaton’s comedy.
The General is a movie that stands the test of time as a critically acclaimed masterpiece. The beautiful camera work, amazing stunts, and new approaches displayed in this film leave an impression even on the passive viewer. Keaton marked a new way to tell comedy movies separate from Chaplin and others of his time. The General is a piece that will continue to stand as a monument to film
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