Saturday, May 12, 2012

Buster Keaton's The General Will Be On The Tandy Hills During Prairie Fest x3 Part 3

I did not get the memo from the Don of the Tandy Hills, about today's Rahr Brewery Friends of the Tandy Hills Natural Area Day, til 11 this morning.

The FOTHNA Day at Rahr Brewery took place from 1, this afternoon, til 3.

So, I did not have sufficient notice to rearrange my busy schedule in time to go to FOTHNA Day today.

But the other memo I got today from the Don of the Tandy Hills, about another event, gives me plenty of time to rearrange my busy schedule.

That other event is Prairie Fest x3 Part 3, Saturday, May 26, 2012.

Movie Night on the Prairie.

The movie is Buster Keaton's classic, The General.
  • Movie start time is approximately 8:45 pm.
  • Seating is on the grass in front of the stage.
  • Food & Beverage by Chadra Mezza & Grill, Good Karma Kitchen and The Wiener Man.
  • Nature Hikes and Live Music from 4 - 8 pm at Prairie Fest x3.
  • Admission is FREE to Prairie Fest and Movie Night.
The Wikipedia article about The General says, in part....

The General is a 1926 American silent comedy film released by United Artists inspired by the Great Locomotive Chase, which happened in 1862. Buster Keaton starred in the film and co-directed it with Clyde Bruckman. It was adapted by Al Boasberg, Bruckman, Keaton, Charles Henry Smith (uncredited) and Paul Girard Smith (uncredited) from the memoir The Great Locomotive Chase by William Pittenger.

The film, an adventure-epic classic made toward the end of the silent era, received both poor reviews by critics (it was considered tedious and disappointing) and weak box-office results (about a half million dollars domestically, and approximately one million worldwide) at its original release, but is now considered by critics as one of the greatest films ever made. However, because of its huge budget ($750,000 supplied by Metro chief Joseph Schenck) and poor box office, Keaton lost his independence as a film-maker and was forced into a restrictive deal with MGM. In 1955, the film entered the public domain (in the USA) due to the claimant's failure to renew its copyright registration in the 28th year after publication.

The General on its initial release fared poorly in both box office and critical reaction. Variety reported of a theater in which it played, "after four weeks of record business with 'Flesh and the Devil', looks as though it were virtually going to starve to death this week." It goes on to say that The General is "far from funny" and that "it is a flop." New York Times reviewer Mordaunt Hall stated, "The production itself is singularly well mounted, but the fun is not exactly plentiful", and "This is by no means so good as Mr. Keaton's previous efforts." The Los Angeles Times reported that the picture is "neither straight comedy nor is it altogether thrilling drama" and goes on to state that the picture "drags terribly with a long and tiresome chase of one engine by another." It was one of Keaton's worst pictures at the box office.

Keaton considered it to be the best of all his movies. Audiences and critics would later agree with him, and it is now considered a major classic of the silent era.

In 1989, The General was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant". It made it into the registry in the first year it was enacted, along with such films as The Best Years of Our Lives, Casablanca, Citizen Kane, Gone with the Wind, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, and Sunset Blvd.

In a 2002 poll of critics and filmmakers on the best films ever made, critic Roger Ebert listed it on his top 10. It is also on his list of Great Movies. It was ranked number 1 in a list of the 100 greatest films of the silent era by the website

Orson Welles stated that Keaton's The General is "the greatest comedy ever made, the greatest Civil War film ever made, and perhaps the greatest film ever made."

At my very ripe old age I only recently learned how good silent movies can be. And how funny Charlie Chaplin is, when I discovered Chaplin's Modern Times and City Lights, long considered to be great films, really are great films. I recently watched Chaplin's The Kid and found it to be another great film.

So, I am sort of looking forward to being under the stars, sitting on the Texas prairie, watching Buster Keaton's classic, The General, in a couple weeks.

Below is a movie trailer for The General...

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