Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise
Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise

The Making Of The Geneal

Illustration for article titled The Making Of The Geneal

As I've mentioned here in the past, Buster Keaton is one of my heroes. So you can imagine how stoked I was to read this in the San Francisco Examiner:


Susan Buhrman and the International Buster Keaton Society have just announced (on June 16th) a major discovery for film history. Previously unknown behind-the-scenes materials documenting the making of Buster Keaton's "The General," has recently been discovered among the effects of an Oregon photographer who had access to the filming back in the summer of 1926. This not only includes several rare photographs, but also the only known script for the film. The script has been identified as the personal copy of one of the film's writers, Clyde Bruckman, who has a history of his own in the annals of screen comedy. What is perhaps most fascinating is that the script includes Bruckman's and Keaton's handwritten notes in the margins —an incredible key to the creative process of a brilliant filmmaker's masterpiece. The importance of this discovery to film history can not be overstated.

"The General" is among the most celebrated silent classics in the history of American cinema. Long available in wildly varying quality prints on VHS and DVD due to its public domain status, "The General" was recently restored by KINO from its original camera negative. In high definition, we can more clearly see that the set design, costumes, and props are carefully integrated as important aspects of Keaton's cinematic vision. In many scenes, the action in the background supports the action in the foreground, and the high-definition clarity allows us to absorb it much better. Night scenes, such as when Buster and his girl are caught in the dark woods as it rains, have a remarkable sharpness.