Film 10 in C4 Top 100 War Films
Railway engineer Johnnie attempts to enlist as a confederate soldier in the Civil War, but is rejected as his job means that he is too valuable . However, Annabelle, his fiancée assumes he is a coward and refuses to speak to him until she sees him in uniform. A year later, and Johnnie’s locomotive, The General, is stolen by union spies, but unfortunately Annabelle is on the train trying to visit her injured father. Johnnie follows, trying to rescue both the girl and his train.
I was actually pleasantly surprised by the film – It’s a fast-paced 75 mins and the action never stops, plus some of Buster Keaton’s stunts are unparalleled even by today’s standards. For a silent film over eighty years old, it’s remarkably funny, tense and exciting.