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DCA Archive

The General with live musical accompaniment by Neil Brand

With its unique blend of thrills and comedy, this Buster Keaton classic makes a terrific introduction for new audiences to films from the silent era. It will also delight those who remember the film fondly and want to see it afresh. Based on an actual incident during the American Civil War, the General of the title refers not to Keaton's character, but to his railway engine, which figures prominently in one of the most harrowing and hilarious chase scenes ever filmed. Johnnie Gray (Keaton) is an engineer whose girlfriend mistakenly thinks him a coward when he fails to join the Confederate Army. When soldiers from the other side steal his locomotive, Johnnie sets off in hot pursuit and so begins one of the longest and most delightful of all chase sequences, thrilling audiences still, even after 88 years.

We’re delighted to welcome back musician, composer and broadcaster Neil Brand to accompany one of the most revered comedies of the silent era.

This screening of The General is presented in partnership with the Hippodrome Silent Film Festival, which takes place from Wed 20 – Sun 24 March 2019. Find out more at