General, The


by Carl Davis

Joseph M. Schenck Productions (1927) Directors: Buster Keaton, Clyde Bruckman
Silent Film
1(=picc).1(=ca).2(II=Ebcl+bcl).1 - 2.2.btrbn.0 - perc(3): 4 timp/SD/tgl/BD/tam-t/2 cyms/susp.cym/fielddrum/high gong/tom-t/xyl/tamb/ruthe/glsp/siz.cym/acoin/TD/wdbl/vib/whip - banjo - harmonica - pno - synth - strings (

Commissioned by Thames Television

First Performance
1987, London

Full score and parts for hire

Programme Notes
Starring: Buster Keaton, Mairon Mack Director: Buster Keaton & Clyde Bruckman Production company: Joseph M. Schenck Productions USA, 1927 Duration: 76 minutes Film Print: B&W print struck from the original camera negative available from Photoplay Productions (Film Speed; 25 frames per second) Recorded for Video Premiere with Davis's score: 1987, London 31 Players: 1(=picc).1(=ca).2(II=bcl).1 - 2.2.btrbn.0 - perc(3 inc. timp) - harmonica* - pno - synth - banjo -strings (mm (*optional - cued in synth part) Buster Keaton represents all that is most brilliant and original in silent film comedy, and he is at his very best in this ultimate chase movie. The General is based on a real-life incident from the American Civil War. A daring raid by Northerners to capture a locomotive and burn bridges in order to break communication lines was thwarted by an alert and quick-thinking Southern railroad engineer. The film contains the most expensive single shot ever staged for a silent film. A full-size railroad bridge was built specifically to be destroyed, along with a multi-wagon train. Carl Davis's symphonic development of a mock-heroic theme builds up an atmosphere of sustained tension and anticipation. He brings out the Civil War conflict through ingenious use of songs of the period.

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