Buster ticks a few boxes for me as an actor and comedian. However…
I’d only seen snippets of the General before and it’s a different thing going through the entire 1hr 45mins with a feckin piano giving me Chinese water torture.
There are laughs and a wonderful insight into film making of 1930’s but there’s also a lot of waiting around while the obviously large budget pays for multitudes of extras. The scenes are useful but more than a tad too long.
Buster’s wonderful timing is on show time and again as you would expect and there are flashes of brilliant pathos and unexpectedly modern acting from both himself and co-star Marion who was clearly game for being thrown around and in one case near the end looks to be terrified by a stunt with Buster that kinda looks improvised.
Oh and look out for Boris Karl off as a Union general – I missed it!
So this is a classic for Buster fans and has some wonderful moments but it is defiantly a long, sometimes difficult-to-keep-watching movie. There’s maybe an hour of good film and the rest is set up but for me, a fan of these style gags, I’m glad I’ve seen it and consider it worth the effort. It’s also possible it would have been more bearable without the weapon of musical destruction plinky-plonking the whole time. Honestly, turn the sound down or off after ten minutes as there’s no reason or method to the music – it adds nothing to the drama or tension or even frivolities and is repeated as if no one cared about it when adding to this version of the film.
DVD Extras: None. I got this cheap in a box set of three of Buster’s films so knew what I wasn’t getting but from what I’ve read about the real train incident and the film I’d have liked to have found out more.
Watchability (once, twice, etc.)
Watch if on TV?
Bits of it, Yes.
Hug, Snog, Marry, Avoid?
Hug although more for old times sake.