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The General (1927 - Bruckman & Keaton)

Saw this on the big screen today, with a live organ accompaniment. I've seen it many times of course, including a couple theatrical screenings, but I can't pass up any and every opportunity to see it again. Buster Keaton's masterpiece about a meek locomotive engineer who isn't allowed to enlist in the Civil War but becomes a hero anyway when his train is stolen and he crosses enemy lines to retrieve it and the girl he loves - based on a true story. Just brilliant physical gag after brilliant physical gag, many of them performed on actual moving trains. The stunts and Keaton's physicality are priceless, though the biggest laughs from me always come from Great Stoneface's reaction when first the runaway boxcar he thought he had rerouted shows up in front of his engine again, then moments later his face when it has just as mysteriously disappeared.

This was another part of Portland's Hollywood Theatre 80th birthday celebration. The General was especially a good fit for the occasion because even though it wasn't released until 1927, it was filmed in 1926, and it was filmed south of the city in Cottage Grove, Oregon...meaning it, too, is celebrating its 80th birthday (or at least the 80th birthday from when it was filmed in the state).

Can't see The General too many times, especially projected in a theatre.