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The General Blu-ray

United States
Kino Lorber | 1927 | 78 min | Not rated | Nov 10, 2009

The General (Blu-ray)
Large:


Video
Codec: MPEG-4 AVC
Resolution: 1080p
Aspect ratio: 1.34:1
Original aspect ratio: 1.33:1

Audio
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
English: LPCM 2.0
English: Dolby Digital 2.0
English: Dolby Digital 2.0
Note: Different narrator voices...

Subtitles
None

Discs
50GB Blu-ray Disc
Single disc (1 BD)

Playback
Region free

Price
List price: $34.95, Price history

Amazon: $20.52 (Save 41%)
New from: $17.67 (Save 49%)
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Movie rating
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
8.5
160
ratings.


Blu-ray rating
Video 4.5 of 54.5
Audio 4.2 of 54.2
Extras 3.1 of 53.1
Based on 2 user reviews

Movie appeal 
Romance100%
War58%
Comedy-
Action-
71%
popularity
1021
collections
54
fans




The General

 (1927)

The General Blu-ray delivers stunning video and great audio in this exceptional Blu-ray release

Johnnie loves two things: his train and the lovely Annabelle Lee. When the Civil War breaks out he enlists as a soldier, but it is decided that he is too valuable as an engineer. Annabelle thinks it is because he is a coward. When Union spies capture Johnnie with Annabelle on board, Johnnie "The General" must recue both his loves.

For more about The General and the The General Blu-ray release, see the The General Blu-ray Review published by on where this Blu-ray release scored 4.5 out of 5.

Directors: Buster Keaton, Clyde Bruckman
Writers: Buster Keaton, Clyde Bruckman, Al Boasberg, Charles Henry Smith
Starring: Buster Keaton, Marion Mack, Glen Cavender, Jim Farley, Frederick Vroom, Charles Henry Smith

» See full cast & crew


The General Blu-ray, Video Quality

  4.5 of 5

Let me preface this section by just saying that watching The General on Blu-ray is an absolute pleasure. As the first silent film to make the jump to high definition in the United States, I'm sure a lot of people are looking toward The General as a litmus test for how well films from the '20s will perform on Blu-ray. Of course, quality will inevitably vary due to print damage, etc., but I can say that I was consistently impressed by the 1080p/AVC-encoded transfer of The General that Kino International has delivered here, a transfer sourced from a 35mm archive print of the original camera negative. I'll be frank; this is not a complete restorative overhaul of the film—which would be a herculean undertaking. White flecks and other debris frequently pepper the frame, wear 'n tear lines sometimes streak down the image, brightness flickers, and you'll notice the occasional bout of telecine wobble. For a film of this vintage, however, all of that is excusable, if not expected. And you'll hardly notice, because the film's newfound level of clarity and presence is simply fantastic. The image is, in general, exceptionally detailed and sharp, easily besting prior home video releases of the film. Just examine the scene in the rain when Johnnie Gray is trying to remove the bear trap from Annabelle's ankle. You can make out the smallest ruffles in her skirt and easily see the minutest divots in the mud beneath their feet. Cinematographers Bert Haines and Deveraux Jennings routinely employ shallow depth of field, which gives the picture a strong dimensionality evocative of Civil War-era photography. Film historian David Robinson said it best when he wrote, "Every shot has the authenticity and the unassuming correct composition of a Matthew Brady Civil War photograph." The film is given a slight sepia toning here—except for the few night scenes, which have a bluish tint—and the gradation between the darkest and lightest portions of the image is perfect. Contrast is strong but rarely overblown, and blacks—which are really deep brown in sepia—are dark and substantial. Finally, the film's grain structure is exceptionally fine. Once you look past the negligible print damage, you'll have no qualms at all about The General's picture quality.


The General Blu-ray, Audio Quality

  4.0 of 5

As with their previous DVD release of the film, Kino International has loaded this disc with a multitude of audio options. The highlight is a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 score conducted by Carl Davis, orchestrated by Nicholas Raine, and performed by the Thames Silents Orchestra for a BBC presentation of The General in 1987. I have no idea what the film's original orchestration was like—and I'm sure it varied from theater to theater—but if it was anything like this score, I'm sure audiences would've been bowled over. The music is comprised of original themes mixed with rearrangements of classic period tunes, including a fantastic minor-key reinterpretation of "Dixie." All of the arrangements are perfectly timed with the film, even down to creating musical "sound effects" for certain on-screen gags. The music is quite full, with the low, detailed timbre of cellos, horns that pierce cleanly, and flutes and oboes taking off in lofty directions. There's also a 2.0 LPCM version of this score, which is just as strong. The disc also includes two additional scores, both presented in Dolby Digital 2.0. Composer Robert Israel's score is derived from traditional silent movie tunes, and prominently features piano and strings. For a lossy track, the music here sounds excellent, but the music is not quite as memorable or engaging as the Carl Davis score. Finally, we have Lee Irwin's organ score, which was recorded in Carnegie Hall and commissioned during the 1970s to accompany theatrical reissues of The General. I really like this track —it's haunting and effective in a way that only organ accompaniment can be. There's a bit of hiss and crackle to the audio, but this only adds to the creaky, old-time vibe.


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The General Blu-ray, News and Updates



Kino Producer Discusses The General and Silents on Blu-ray - December 20, 2009

Blu-ray review site Doblu has interviewed DVD and Blu-ray producer Bret Wood on the preparation of Buster Keaton's 'The General' for its Blu-ray edition, which was released November 10. In the interview, Wood discusses in depth the specific challenges transferring ...

Buster Keaton's The General Blu-ray for November - September 2, 2009

Kino Video is set to release Buster Keaton's silent-cinema masterpiece 'The General' on Blu-ray on November 10, making it the first silent feature film on BD in America (although the absolute record is for the UK release of 'Sunrise', which comes out September ...


The General Blu-ray, Forum Discussions



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Buster Keaton's The General (1927) Blu 11/1... (

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