Ali’s review published on Letterboxd:
52 Years in 52 Weeks: 15/52
OK, so if you're like me and this has been on your radar for a while but you've put off watching for whatever reason... hurry up!!!
This silent film is action-packed, hilarious, and by far the most accessible of any silent feature I've seen- granted, it's competing against a very small group of just 3 others, but I think the point still stands!
Co-director Buster Keaton also stars as Johnny Gray, a man with two loves: his train engine, "The General," and his sweetie, Annabelle Lee. The Civil War has just kicked off, and Annabelle insists he enlist with the Confederacy. He tries his best, but is rejected on the basis that he can better serve the South as an engineer. Following some misunderstandings and a fallout with his beloved, Gray becomes entangled in a truly epic train chase across enemy lines. I'm no history buff, so it was news to me that this is actually based on a true event known as "The Great Locomotive Chase." Neat!
I was blown away by how ambitious of a film this is and it pulls it off splendidly. You've got people literally running around on moving trains! Keaton's stunt work and physical comedy is a wonder. Also, it's all the more impressive to me to watch a film made in 1926 depict events set in 1861 (65 years prior!)- making this feel like a fascinating little time capsule as well as first-rate entertainment.