Directed by Clyde Bruckman and Buster Keaton
Starring Buster Keaton, Marion Mack, Glen Cavender
In The General, a young Confederate man
Plays a train engineer as best as he can.
The two great loves in this young man’s life
Are his train, and a woman he wants for his wife.
Buster Keaton plays this man.
He was the silent era’s Jackie Chan.
This film he made was full of stunts,
Some of which are home runs instead of bunts.
Many of us, when on a train,
Sit down and don’t get up again
Until the vehicle comes to a stop,
But in this film, the train is its main prop.
The heroes and the villains, mind,
Use very part of the train to climb,
And walk, and sit, and cling to the sides,
And it’s slow enough to run behind.
The young man is who this story’s about.
His life is well until war breaks out.
When the Civil War starts, the South has to go,
So he tries to enlist, and they tell him no.
He’s too valuable as a train engineer.
His skills could put them ahead that year.
Though they don’t tell him that when they rebuke him,
And the girl he likes will have nothing to do with him.
Nevertheless, she is onboard the train
When Union spies come thieving again,
And take it back with them to the North.
Buster Keaton follows behind, of course.
He follows on foot and he follows on rail,
And never loses their scent or trail.
When he finds himself in the North and unarmed,
He abandons his train and runs from harm.
Hiding out in the woods and the hills,
He soon locates some generals.
He listens closely to their plan
To go and attack the South again.
In addition to hearing their evil ends,
He learns that they have his lady friend.
He must use his knowledge to save the South,
And gain some thanks from her pretty mouth.
The stunt-filled movie was very well done,
And may be the most famous work he’s done.
I’m giving this a five out of six
Because we will never tire of its tricks.