In the film, “The General” Keaton Buster’s persona and sensibility adapt better to the sense of absurdity, cruelty, and randomness of the modern viewer (The General). The film recounts the story of Johnnie Gray, a railroad engineer under pressure to join the Confederate Army. A group of Yankees steals the train, and Johnnie sets out in its pursuit (The General). Long travelling shots and amazing camera tricks serve as the guiding elements of the film’s comic and visual style.
The silent films of Keaton contributed significantly to the development of American comedy. In the films, Keaton utilizes both pathos and comedy. Furthermore, Buster manipulates the cinematic space and cinematic gadgetry to portray the conflict between an individual and the society by playing the role of a protagonist who is struggling to extricate himself from problematic and dangerous situations (The General).
The long shot technique is widely used in the filming of the stunts so that the dangers of the stunts are fully apparent to the viewer. While in front of the camera, Buster remains aloof and stoic throughout the multiple outrageous situations in the film. Keaton’s stunts emphasize the feats of dexterity and strength over the development of character (Sudo 1).
The film is about the Civil War, and it depicts the conflict between an individual and the society by telling the story of how a qualified train engineer tries to join the Confederate Army, but he is not drafted because his engineering skills are more valued than being a soldier (The General).
Keaton positions himself as an individual who is alienated from the fast-paced life that is characteristic of contemporary societies. Notably, the individual faces various psychological challenges that forces Keaton Buster to adapt to his environment’s demand (Sudo 1). In some of the acting roles, Keaton is widely forced to adapt physically to some of the environmental demands. The General is created in a manner that enables it to interact with the real world’s physics (The General).
The General. Dir. Bruckman, Clyde and Keaton, Buster. Touchstone, 1926. DVD.
Sudo, Chuck. Silent Film Society of Chicago Salutes Buster Keaton. Silent Film Society of Chicago. February 17, 2014. Web. Feb 1, 2016.