I wish people would stop recommending public domain versions of this film (and others). They are free, yes. They are also not worth watching. The General is one of my Top 10 favorite films of all time, but the P.D. versions would be Bottom 10. The picture quality in the public domain is TERRIBLE and the generic music selections are horrific. It would be better to NEVER see The General over watching the P.D. version.
Perhaps Buster Keaton's greatest achievement, THE GENERAL may not be a laugh-a-minute knee slapper like some of his other films, but is instead a great adventure distinguished by Keaton's trademark deadpan humor. The train chase set pieces are especially impressive, THE GENERAL is an impeccably choreographed and realized comedic masterpiece. What Keaton accomplished with trains is simply astounding.
you kiddin'? he is chaplin's superior. his daring, his ingenuity. he risked death or serious injury in most of his films for unbelievable gags, all now canonical for physical humor. his contributions are enormous. chaplin's a more sensitive actor, but for humor and technicality, buster keaton wins.
It's said to be the best Keaton's movie, but I really laughed out loud more at Our Hospitality. It has so many threadbare gags and some scenes are exploited too much (ex. the train pursuit). It has a nice point though. Never phunk with a lovestruck engineer!