The General

poster from IMDb
Produced 1926 by Buster Keaton Productions and released by United Artists, black and white, standard Academy ratio 1:1.33, silent with piano musical score, 75 mins., released on DVD Oct. 1999.




The film is based on the true story of "The Great Railroad Adventure" when Union Capt. James J. Andrews led a force into the South, called "Andrews' Raiders," and on Apr. 12, 1862, stole the locomotive called the General on the Western & Atlantic Railroad. The plan was to race the locomotive north and burn bridges between Atlanta and Chattanooga to prepare for an attack in Tennessee by the Union army. However, the southern locomotive conductor William Fuller was furious and led the pursuit of the General, first on foot, then on a push cart, then on 3 successive locomotives, the Yenah, the William R. Smith, and finally took the Texas heading south and turned it around to go north after the General. The raiders met unexpected southbound traffic on the line, dropped cross-ties and uncoupled cars to slow the pursuers. Finally, when they ran out of fuel, they abandoned the General without burning any bridges.


History Department | Filmnotes | revised 1/10/2000 by Schoenherr