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Orson Welles called Buster Keaton’s 1926 film The General “the greatest comedy ever made, the greatest Civil War film ever made, and perhaps the greatest film ever made.” Though it was not popular when first released, the film has come to be regarded as one of the most important and entertaining films of the silent era. As Roger Ebert says, The General “is an epic of silent comedy, one of the most expensive films of its time, including an accurate historical recreation of a Civil War episode, hundreds of extras, dangerous stunt sequences, and an actual locomotive falling from a burning bridge into a gorge far below.” This and all of Keaton’s movies, Ebert adds, showcase “a graceful perfection, such a meshing of story, character and episode, that they unfold like music.”
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Text adapted from Open Culture.