The General review

Returning to the silent carriage...

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Spearheading the BFI’s Buster Keaton season is this 4K restoration of his 1926 masterpiece, a jaw-plunging blend of physical dexterity and bravura moviemaking.

On the eve of the US Civil War, Keaton’s train engineer is called into action when his beloved locomotive, The General, is stolen with the girl of his dreams, Annabelle (Marion Mack), on board.

Performing the stunts himself, Keaton’s gymnastic skills are unparallelled, but it’s his vision as a director that truly impresses – notably the spectacular bridge-set finale, a set-piece to rival anything D.W. Griffith ever mounted.

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Freelance writer

James Mottram is a freelance film journalist, author of books that dive deep into films like Die Hard and Tenet, and a regular guest on the Total Film podcast. You'll find his writings on GamesRadar+ and Total Film, and in newspapers and magazines from across the world like The Times, The Independent, The i, Metro, The National, Marie Claire, and MindFood.