The General (1926, silent black & white, 77 mins, rated G)
Accompanied with LIVE performance by Viola Dana of Kathy Potter's new soundtrack
A classic silent comedy, Buster Keaton/Clyde Bruckman's The General is set during the American Civil War. Buster's character Johnnie Gray is unable to become a Confederate soldier as he is deemed more helpful in the war effort as the engineer of the train, The General. However, his bravery doesn't go unnoticed as he single-handedly takes on the Union side in a plight to rescue both his engine and his girl. The General is often listed as one of the finest comedic films of all time, featuring beautifully crafted cinematic photography, a thrilling plot and Keaton's trademark dead-pan, perfectly timed comic stunts.
Perth band Viola Dana's live performance to The General takes the audience back to the 1920s film viewing experience. Kathy Potter's new soundtrack for the film is infused with American folk tunes, Steve Reich-inspired train evocations and the spontaneity of jazz improvisation to help illuminate Keaton's masterful performance for a contemporary audience. At its premiere at the 2009 Revelation Perth International Film Festival, the new soundtrack was received as such by the Rev team on their website:
"One of the faves though would have to be the live performance by Viola Dana to Keaton's The General. Standing ovation and all, their work was nothing short of brilliant...it brought the house down."
For more information about Viola Dana's soundtrack performance to The General, take a look at the Press Kit page: there you'll find an interview, a couple of reviews and some pics.
Background image: photography of Viola Dana by Nik Babic Photography
The General image courtesy of Chapel Distribution