View Full Version : Civil War Comedies

09-02-2007, 11:30 PM
Well, I know that there are some out there, but I don't know them all. What are some of your favorite Civil War Comedy movies?
(I'm starting a Civil War Club at my university, and I want to show a Civil War comedy for the first meeting)

09-03-2007, 07:06 AM
My vote would be for "The General." They used original uniforms because they were cheaper than making uniforms (think it was made in the 1920s?). And I think the locomotive they used was a period locomotive (it is driven off an actual bridge into a river, and they actually did do this, so the effects are not "movie effects." They also modeled several scenes on Brady and other period photographs, so it's fun to see if you can pick these out during the film.

Not only is it funny, but you can have the fun of picking out period details.

Just one suggestion,
Karin Timour
Period Knitting -- Socks, Sleeping Hats, Balaclavas
Come see me next weekend at September Storm -- I'll have the sockline with me.
Atlantic Guard Soldiers' Aid Society
Email: Ktimour@aol.com

09-03-2007, 07:32 AM
Dear Karin,

I had read that The General wasn't well received at the time. I found a few examples.

Period Review quotes from....


"Long and tedious - the least funny thing Buster Keaton has ever done." (Herald-Tribune)

"A one-man show, a mistake in a picture lasting an hour." (Norbert Lusk, Picture/Play Charm)

"Far from funny... A flop." (Variety)

"Buster Keaton shows signs of vaulting ambition... He appears to be attempting to enter the epic class. That he fails to get across is due to the scantiness of his material as compared with the length of his films; he has also displayed woefully bad judgment in deciding just where and when to stop... Many of his gags at the end of the picture are in such gruesomely bad taste that the sympathetic spectator is inclined to look the other way. The General has some grand scenes... and the ingenuity displayed by... Keaton in keeping these... tedious chases alive is little short of incredible. in spite of its pretentious proportions, The General is not nearly so good as Raymond Griffith's Civil War comedy Hands Up." (Robert E. Sherwood, Life)

"Slow, very slow... Pull yourself together, Buster." (Daily Mirror)


"The General (1927) is an imaginative masterpiece of dead-pan "Stone-Face" Buster Keaton comedy, generally regarded as one of the greatest of all silent comedies (and Keaton's own favorite) - and undoubtedly the best train film ever made..."

"... However, Keaton's greatest picture (arguably) received both poor reviews by critics (it was considered tedious and disappointing) and weak box-office results (about a half million dollars) when initially released in the late 20s, and it led to Keaton's loss of independence as a film-maker and a restrictive deal with MGM...."