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Buster Keaton Double Feature: The General/Steamboat Bill Jr.

Buster Keaton's practically perfect 1927 Civil War masterpiece, The General, receives a stellar new DVD upgrade. Keaton stars as Johnnie Gray, an engineer and would-be Confederate soldier whose beloved locomotive, The General, is stolen by Union saboteurs, making this terrific comedy also an action-adventure-historical-war-espionage thriller. Plus, on this disc it's accompanied by another Keaton classic, Steamboat Bill, Jr., a Mark Twain-like tale from 1928. In it, Buster is a ukulele-strumming Harvard milquetoast who returns to Mississippi to find his father, a tough and crusty sidewheeler steamboat captain. In the film's famous climax, the local port town is blown to smithereens by a cyclone. The stunt everybody talks about in the falling house, perhaps silent cinema's most memorable death-defying image. Both films look great, with The General especially benefiting from a lovely print and recent advances in telecine mastering. Produced by film preservationist David Shepard, they come with excellent new scores by The Alloy Orchestra. Keep-case.
—Mark Bourne

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