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The General





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#1 Mac

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Posted 24 July 2011 - 10:57

Recently bought the Blu-Ray version of this film to compliment the DVD I already have.

Set in 1862 during the War of the Rebellion the movie is loosely based on the book...'The
Great Locomotive Chase'.

Despite being made in 1926 (as a comedy)the rail-road and military scenes look very
authentic. Buster Keaton looks as though he's just stepped out of a Matthew Brady calotype.

Amongst the extras is an 18 minute feature on the story of the 4-4-0 locomotive which is
invaluable for details if you're thinking of modelling this era.

I paid £18 for the Blu Ray,but I believe you can pick up the basic DVD(minus extras) for
as low as £3.

Mac.

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#2 Mac

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Posted 05 September 2011 - 15:05



#3 Removed a/c_JohnReid

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Posted 10 November 2011 - 12:43

Wow thanks for the heads up !

#4 Mac

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Posted 10 November 2011 - 14:02

Hope the info' is of some help to you.
Note... the 18 minute feature on the Rogers Locomotive is NOT on the DVD version I own.

Mac.

Edited by Mac, 11 November 2011 - 10:46 .


#5 Ohmisterporter

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Posted 10 November 2011 - 16:09

I watched this film recently on Sky and was put off by the inappropriate classical music playing throughout, with no relation to the events on the screen. With the sound turned off it was much more enjoyable. When the film was originally shown in the cinemas the musical accompaniment was provided by the cinema's own pianist. I have often wondered if they played an authorised score or improvised all the way through.
Buster Keaton was a comic genius and my favourite among the silent movie stars. I shall watch out for the DVD.

#6 Pacific231G

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Posted 10 November 2011 - 16:31

I watched this film recently on Sky and was put off by the inappropriate classical music playing throughout, with no relation to the events on the screen. With the sound turned off it was much more enjoyable. When the film was originally shown in the cinemas the musical accompaniment was provided by the cinema's own pianist. I have often wondered if they played an authorised score or improvised all the way through.
Buster Keaton was a comic genius and my favourite among the silent movie stars. I shall watch out for the DVD.

I understand that it's a bit of a myth that silent movies were accompanied by a single cinema pianist. That might have been the case very early on or in the smaller cinemas and many films were shown unaccompanied but the large picture palaces did apparently have fairly extensive accompaniments ranging from small orchestras to even having actors behind the screen adding live dialogue. I believe that some major features were actually scored by the studios though it was more common to use compilations of classical or theatrical repertory music as also used for live theatre but the studios did often provide cue sheets of the mood required.
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#7 Mac

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Posted 10 November 2011 - 17:39

I watched this film recently on Sky and was put off by the inappropriate classical music playing throughout, with no relation to the events on the screen. With the sound turned off it was much more enjoyable. When the film was originally shown in the cinemas the musical accompaniment was provided by the cinema's own pianist. I have often wondered if they played an authorised score or improvised all the way through.
Buster Keaton was a comic genius and my favourite among the silent movie stars. I shall watch out for the DVD.


Geoff.

The Blu-Ray version carries 3 musical scores you can choose from.

Carl Davis (BBC Pride & Prejudice) is the one the makers pushed when the film was re-mastered.

I prefer the Robert Israel version because he uses period tunes ,plus the music blends in well
with what's happening on the screen.

Lee Erwin provides the third score:on a theatre organ!

Here's an example of the Robert Israel music...

Mac.


Edited by Mac, 10 November 2011 - 17:40 .

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#8 Ohmisterporter

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Posted 11 November 2011 - 07:57

Thanks Mac, the Isreal music sounds more like what I was expecting.
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#9 RJS1977

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Posted 11 November 2011 - 08:23

The Basingstoke club have a 00 layout featuring a cinema with a working screen that shows this film!
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#10 Mac

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Posted 11 November 2011 - 10:45

Thanks Mac, the Isreal music sounds more like what I was expecting.


Geoff.

It's used to good effective during the locomotive chase sequences (about 60% of the film).

Mac.

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Edited by Mac, 11 November 2011 - 11:47 .


#11 Mac

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Posted 18 December 2011 - 13:55

As a related topic; here's an account from John Wright's Great Grandfather, telling about the perils of rail-road travel during the War.


Great Grand Dad Rides the Cars

Here is an account from my great grandfather, Julius Cicero Lambertson, of his adventures on the steam cars during the war.
He was born in 1847 near White Sulphur Springs, Tennessee and enlisted in the 44th Tennessee infantry in December 1861.
He fought at Shiloh and saw his brother mortally wounded.

The train ride picks up after Shiloh but first I will give a brief excerpt from the early 1850s. All spelling errors are his....



" We moved from there by wagon shortly after to Tuscumbia Allabamma where there is the largest spring I ever saw. There also
I saw the first R Road & cars. It would be called a poor affair now, small flat iron for rails & the smoke stack of the engine painted red.
40 miles per day was a days run. Holes along side of the road instead of water tanks & this conveyed to the engine tender in bucketts...

"I will not here attempt to write of the many incidents of the siege of Corrinth, of our regiment covering the retreat from there to Tupelo,...but I will describe one incident.


When we crossed Mobile Bay & got onto the cars (they were freight cars) I got on top as usual. James Smith, a sergent a messmate of mine,
lay down in the cars on his blankets. He was just about with his feet at our door & head at the other. He fell asleep and when we had got fairly started
we were crossing a bridge, Jim was a sleep walker & he got up & steped out over the bridge.

Word was passed along the cars to all get down off the top that there was a man overboard. I had given Jim all my money & he was a good friend.
We never expected to see him again, but next morning when we got to Montgomery & were forming up, a dray passed us with some baggage & Jim
Smith called out "boys I am about to overtake you again"...He said the first thing that waked him,he heard the cars ratling over his head & found
himself wading about in water about waist deep. he went back to the station & got on another train that was just starting...After that he took a rope
& tied himself in one corner of the car. He was very much bruised but was soon ready for duty.

We had a collision at West Point with an engine & wounded a good many soldiers & smashed up several cars. I was on top of our train at the time.
We were just leaving town with our flags flying & bands of musick playing. I believe I was with the band beating a drum when we ran into an engine
coming around a curve. I ran back towards the rear & did not get hurt. We were there 2 days before we could get off..."



I'd just like to thank John Wright for giving permission to publish this.

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#12 faulcon1

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Posted 01 July 2015 - 12:17

That film contains one of the most expensive real live stunts which is when the burning wooden bridge over the river collapses when a loco is driven onto it. They used a 100% real steam loco for that shot. Buster did all his own stunts there was no double. In his life he broke every single bone in his body at one time or another.


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#13 BR60103

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Posted 02 July 2015 - 02:19

Note that the film has a similar historical accuracy to some Rowan Atkinson productions.



#14 peach james

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Posted 02 July 2015 - 03:31

Also note, the movie is out of copywrite, so don't pay for it...the extras that are being sold with it (may be) copywrite, but there is nothing going to residuals with this, strictly someone profiteering from making the disks and selling them on ebay/ect.


Edited by peach james, 02 July 2015 - 03:31 .


#15 Fenman

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Posted 02 July 2015 - 06:52

Also note, the movie is out of copywrite, so don't pay for it...the extras that are being sold with it (may be) copywrite, but there is nothing going to residuals with this, strictly someone profiteering from making the disks and selling them on ebay/ect.


Acetate and nitrate film degrade. Already, much film from the silent era has been lost because the medium is not (relatively) stable like paper.

What do you think pays for the electricity bills for the cold stores in which films like The General are kept? What pays the wages of the technicians who clean and restore the film? Or the equipment they use?

The British Film Institute employs dozens of people at its master film stores in Warwickshire and at its laboratories in Berkhamsted. You think they are ripping you off?

From memory, The General was restored by a US not-for-profit, though I can't remember what they did with the rights (sic).

Paul


Edited by Fenman, 02 July 2015 - 11:33 .

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#16 The Stationmaster

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Posted 02 July 2015 - 09:44

Acetate and nitrate film degrade. Already, much film from the silent era has been lost, because the medium is not (relatively) stable like paper.

What do you think pays the electricity bills for the cold stores in which films like The General are kept? What pays the wages of the technicians who clean and restore the film? Or the equipment they use?

The British Film Institute employs dozens of people at its master film stores in Warwickshire and at its laboratories in Berkhamsted. You think they are ripping you off?

From memory, The General was restored by a US not-for-profit, though I can't remember what they did with the rights (sic).

Paul

I believe the BFI did a full restoration job on it and of course the Carl Davis score was commissioned either to go as part of their reissue or perhaps by C4 when they showed the restored version.  So investment in restoring the film has definitely taken place effectively producing a new version - which would no doubt start a new copyright period on it.


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#17 joppyuk1

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Posted 02 July 2015 - 09:51

Didn't Disney do a live-action (proper actors, not drawings) version of the Great Locomotive chase with Fess Parker (Davy Crockett)? Of course, I could be wrong.


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#18 Fenman

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Posted 02 July 2015 - 11:15

Didn't Disney do a live-action (proper actors, not drawings) version of the Great Locomotive chase ...


They did: it was rubbish! Whereas the original is a truly great film.

Paul
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#19 jjb1970

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Posted 02 July 2015 - 11:33

This has been touched upon in a Hornby thread but if we want to preserve and restore these old films somebody has to pay for it and I think it is fair that is a body like BFI invests a lot of time and effort into restoring a film and a new score is commissioned that they hold copyright on the restored version. If you watch the restored editions of some of the films re-issued by BFI (especially if you are lucky enough to see them in a cinema or on bluray on a really good home cinema set up) then it is a revelation.
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#20 Fenman

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Posted 02 July 2015 - 11:39

This has been touched upon in a Hornby thread but if we want to preserve and restore these old films somebody has to pay for it and I think it is fair that is a body like BFI invests a lot of time and effort into restoring a film and a new score is commissioned that they hold copyright on the restored version. If you watch the restored editions of some of the films re-issued by BFI (especially if you are lucky enough to see them in a cinema or on bluray on a really good home cinema set up) then it is a revelation.

 

I completely agree. Anyone can compare the DVD of Night Mail issued before the BFI restored it, and the BFI's own release of the film after enormous amounts of work - it would be comparing chalk and cheese.

 

Paul


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#21 faulcon1

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Posted 03 July 2015 - 13:12

I bought the DVD of the General at the Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch Railway whilst on holidays in 2007. It was a special edition DVD a pressed DVD not a burnt copy.

It is fully restored and digitally remastered and includes two other films, Cops (22mins) and Balloonatic (27mins).


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#22 rockershovel

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Posted 03 July 2015 - 14:10

No 1 Son was fascinated by this film when he was around 3 or 4 years old, watched it endlessly!
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#23 faulcon1

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Posted 11 July 2015 - 08:16

With the DVD of the movie of The General that I bought the movie is in sepia rather than black and white. The other two features on there are in black and white.









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