Rent The General (1926)

4.0 of 5 from 146 ratings
1h 14min
Rent The General (aka The Engine Driver) Online DVD & Blu-ray Rental
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Train engineer Johnny Gray (Buster Keaton) is turned down when he tries to enlist in the Confederate Army during the American Civil War as his occupation is deemed too important. When his train (The General) is stolen by Union soldiers so that it can be used to attack Confederate forces, only Johnny and his girl Annabelle Lee can save the train and warn the Confederates about an impending attack.
, , , , , , , , , , Henry Baird, Joe Bricher, , , C.C. Cruson, , , , ,
Buster Keaton, Joseph M. Schenck
Buster Keaton, Clyde Bruckman, Al Boasberg, Charles Henry Smith, William Pittenger, Paul Gerard Smith
John Boorman
The Engine Driver
Action & Adventure, Classics, Comedy
Release Date:
Run Time:
105 minutes
English, Silent
English, None
DVD Regions:
Region 0 (All)
Aspect Ratio:
Full Screen 1.33:1 / 4:3
B & W
Release Date:
Run Time:
74 minutes
English LPCM Mono, Silent
Aspect Ratio:
Full Screen 1.33:1 / 4:3
B & W
BLU-RAY Regions:
  • The General and Steamboat Bill - Original scores by Carl Davis
  • Audio commentary on Sherlock, Jr. by film historian David Kalat
  • Buster Keaton: The Genius Crushed by Hollywood (52 mins) - a documentary on Keaton and his struggles working within the Hollywood studio system
  • A video interview with Peter Kramer, author of BFI Film Classics: The General
  • Buster Keaton on Wagon Train (58 mins) - an audio recording of a then 63-year old Buster Keaton in conversation with television writer Bill Cox
  • The General - Introduction by Orson Welles
  • The General - Introduction by Gloria Swanson
  • The General -Tour of Filming Locations video piece
  • The General - Video Tour video piece
  • The General - Home Movie Footage from the set

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Reviews (5) of The General

Classic silent comedy - The General review by KM

Spoiler Alert

This 1926 film starts quite slowly but stick with it and you'll get to the wonderful comedy routines and astounding acrobatic stunts. It's a great film to introduce children, or anyone, to the joys of silent comedy. My kids love this movie, they are amazed by the simplicity of the special effects and the split second timing of the stunts. (They'd also recommend "Oh, Mr. Porter!" from 1937 for more fun with trains...)

The only disappointment on this DVD is the music - instead of a specially written score there is a series of piano rags. Pleasant enough, but music underlining the action would have been even better. See films like this with live accompaniment if you get the chance.

3 out of 3 members found this review helpful.

Great Film, Shame About The Video... - The General review by Count Otto Black

Spoiler Alert

I assume from the previous review that this rental company has a number of different versions of this movie, and it's pure potluck which one you get. In the interests of better customer service, I'm giving this film one star, not because of Buster Keaton's performance, but because the DVD I was sent was literally painful to watch, and consequently I didn't watch it for very long.

I refer to the 2004 DVD produced by Elstree Hill Entertainment, which I presume has absolutely nothing to do with the illustrious Elstree Film Studios, but would like people to think it does. Obviously I don't expect perfection from a movie this old, but there's more than the odd scratch wrong with this! It looks like a tenth-generation video copy, it's incredibly grainy, it wobbles, it's most certainly not in fullscreen format despite the info give here, and worst of all, the entire film is out of focus.

I'm not reviewing the film, I'm reviewing the unwatchable version of it you may and up attempting to watch. Infinitely better digitally restored prints of silent movies far more obscure than this starring people a lot less famous than Buster Keaton exist, so presumably I've just given up on a DVD transfer of it that's far worse than most. If I may quote Amazon...?

For region 2 PAL viewers, avoid the Elstree Hill Entertainment release version - ASIN # B0001U0HHA . This version has poor audio. Lots of negative reviews. Try the E1 Entertainment colorized version which has positive reviews. There are also two other black and white region 2 PAL releases by Whe Europe Limited and Simply Media (no reviews posted).


I have several Elstree Hill dvds and the quality is deplorable on all of them. Unfortunatly they were presents making it difficult to return. I shall make sure that this Companys products are not purchased in future. D. Newson.

Seriously, CinemaParadiso, you're making yourselves look cheap here! And for everybody else, this film is in the public domain, so a free legal download of it would probably be no worse than the DVD this company may charge you to rent.

1 out of 1 members found this review helpful.

Deservedly regarded as a silent classic - The General review by DH

Spoiler Alert

It may be 91 years old but it kept me entertained throughout. Very inventive physical comedy. I do, however, agree with KM's comments regarding the piano accompaniment.

1 out of 1 members found this review helpful.

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