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The Buster Keaton film "The General" is stupid and boring


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*In all seriousness, El Brendel is pretty awesome.*

No, he's painful. He single-handedly sinks every film I've seen him in.

 

*Nobody REALLY sits through "The General" and laughs once....AT ALL.*

I do.

So your theory is junk.

I think THE GENERAL is one of the Top Ten films of Hollywood's silent period.

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Certainly in JUST IMAGINE, THE SPIDER and THE SHE CREATURE.

A couple others as well whose titles I'm not recalling at the moment.

 

I'll admit he doesn't exactly sink JUST IMAGINE... that film is pretty much on its way to the bottom without his help.

 

EDIT:

Other titles: WINGS (at least that's a silent), THE BIG TRAIL, LITTLE MISS BROADWAY, WINGS OF FEAR.

 

Edited by: HarryLong on Oct 15, 2010 2:58 PM

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I think *Just Imagine* is a riot, although I will admit it's an acquired taste, since the movie seems to have no idea what I want to be.

 

It's also got some great pre-Code humor, including Marjorie White singing a song that goes something like this:

 

Mothers, tell your daughters: never ever wed,

Mothers, tell your daughters: shun the married bed.

Although I find that good advice, one drawback I can see,

If Mother followed that advice, there wouldn't be a me

 

There's another exchange between her and Frank Albertson that wouldn't have made it to screen a few years later.

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He is certainly cringeworthy in "The Spider" but I would have to disagree with "Just Imagine". The film on the whole is not very good but there are some Brendel funny moments in the film. The "give me the good old days" scene is funny, and so is the part where he's drunk.

 

I can't believe you think he's terrible in "Wings" as it's certainly one of his best performances and I assume by "Wings of Fear" you actually meant "House of Fear". Either way, it's too bad, you're missing out on another good performance.

 

Seeing Brendel films with an audience certainly enhances his performances and I have seen at least 4 in person where he gets tons of laughs.

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talkietime,

 

Should mention that the old AMC used to air THE GENERAL with the Robert Israel score. Which is the 1st Alternate track on the current Kino, DVD and Blu-ray release. The default being Carlo Davis. TCM has only run the film first with the Bill Perry Piano score, and for the past several years with the Alloy Orchestra music. I just can't understand why, can't they land Carl Davis????

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As Buster Keaton films go, THE GENERAL is rather lacking in the laughs department, however, as far as film making style goes, I believe it is quite remarkable. It does have a wonderful look about it and as was already mentioned, its look does resemble Mathew Brady photos from the civil war come to life. The scale of the film too, is quite remarkable, even for its time, as few studios in the late '20s would have gone to the expense of destroying a full size steam locomotive. I think that THREE AGES (1923), a delightful satire of D.W. Griffith's INTOLERANCE and SEVEN CHANCES (1925) are much funnier films. But I still enjoy an occasional viewing of THE GENERAL anyway.

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This is Keaton's best work. SHERLOCK, JR. is clever. OUR HOSPITALITY is hilarious. Some of the shorts are inventive and cute. THE GENERAL is all these things. It's story driven, races to a climax, and is fueled by cute, clever, inventive gags. Believe it or not, I'm not trying to be funny. This is the best way I can describe this fine silent comedy.

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What makes *The General* a great film is not its humor, but Keaton's single-minded determination, and its spot-on style.

 

I am almost certain that *Seven Chances* was shown on TCM a number of years ago, could have been 2001. I think it was part of 24 hours of Keaton silents? I believe I recorded about half of them.

 

Edited by: ValentineXavier on Oct 16, 2010 11:03 PM

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> {quote:title=HarryLong wrote:}{quote}

> Do you really hold these outrageous opinions or do you just post them to try stirring up trouble?

> I thought the guy who heads up the El Brendel Fan Club was an idiot, but...

>

If you don't like El Brendel that's fine. But you shouldn't criticize those who do.

As far as I know there is no El Brendel Fan Club and probably hasn't been one since the early thirties, if even then. So you may be referring to the guy with the Brendel blog/website. How can you say he's an idiot? Do you know him? It happens that I do and consider him a very good friend. He is most certainly NOT an idiot, but caring and generous good guy and friend.

 

And may I point out that his research on El Brendel has been most impressive and has led to many of our mutual friends gaining a new appreciation for Brendel as a very talented performer who unfortunately was not often enough given opportunities in films to really show his talents to the best advantage.

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*If you don't like El Brendel that's fine. But you shouldn't criticize those who do.*

*As far as I know there is no El Brendel Fan Club and probably hasn't been one since the early thirties, if even then. So you may be referring to the guy with the Brendel blog/website. How can you say he's an idiot? Do you know him? It happens that I do and consider him a very good friend. He is most certainly NOT an idiot, but caring and generous good guy and friend.*

You're certainly very good at jumping to conclusions & then berating me based on your assumptions. As it happens I was _not_ referring to the gentleman who has the El Brendel site. I was refrring to someone who posts on another board (& is a friend, by the way... so my description of him as an "idiot" was in jest) and claims to head up the El Brendel Fan Club - whose membership is limited to himself.

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> {quote:title=HarryLong wrote:}{quote}

>

> You're certainly very good at jumping to conclusions & then berating me based on your assumptions. As it happens I was _not_ referring to the gentleman who has the El Brendel site. I was refrring to someone who posts on another board (& is a friend, by the way... so my description of him as an "idiot" was in jest) and claims to head up the El Brendel Fan Club - whose membership is limited to himself.

>

Sorry, I had no intentions of "berating" you. Just sticking up for my pal.

And it's nice to hear that there's another El Brendel fan out there!

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Hmm, THE GENERAL with music by the great Scott Joplin selling briskly! Never had seen or even heard of that version before? Is it a good print? Doesn't say if it is Piano, or a small Ragtime band. So many different editions available.

 

One of my favorite Joplin tunes is THE SILVER SWAN. Anyone else know that terrific melody? I recall using it on some old 78's when watching my Super 8 Millimeter Silent Blackhawk Two-Reelers back in the day when I was a kid.

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> {quote:title=Scottman wrote:}{quote}

> Have you seen any of the shorts he made at Columbia? Are they any good?

>

Yes, I've seen most of them. Sorry to report that the Columbia shorts are among the offenders that mis-used El Brendel's talents and usually had him running around doing what any other comic could (and did) do in typical Columbia shorts. Many of his Columbia shorts were remakes of earlier shorts. And further demonstrating how they really didn't know what to do with him, they tried teaming him up with various partners, usually with unimpressive results.

Some of the Columbia shorts are okay, and I would still recommend checking them out if you can find them. Then you can decide if you want to see more.

But just bear in mind that if they seem lame and silly (or absolutely awful), don't necessarily blame Brendel. He would rather have been doing the kind of comedy he did best, such as his vaudeville act, but in most films, especially the Columbia shorts his talents were wasted.

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