Tag Archives: United Artists

The General 1926

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United Artists

Buster Keaton’s masterpiece from 1926 is both a silent picture and black and white, which makes it about as obscure a train movie to modern audiences, as can be. Based on the true-to-life Andrews Raid during the Civil War, location shooting took place on the Oregon, Pacific & Eastern railroad near Cottage Grove.

Filmmakers were able to discover three 4-4-0 locomotives in Oregon to use for the movie. They were:

OP&E #4, built by Cooke Locomotive Works in 1886. This became W&A #3, “General”.
OP&E #5, built by Baldwin Locomotive Works in 1881. This became W&A #5, “Texas”.
OP&E #1, built by Baldwin Locomotive Works in 1881. This became USMRR #8, unnamed.

Chock full of railroad scenes featuring some incredible stunts by Keaton, I had a difficult time chopping down over 200 screen caps to a manageable 64 for this review.

Our story begins in 1861, Marietta, Georgia….

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…where a despondent Johnnie Gray (Buster Keaton) has been denied enlistment, account being too valuable as an Engineer on the Western & Atlantic (W&A) Railroad. As he rests on the main driving rod of the 4-4-0, a hostler moves General into the shed.

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Some Like it Hot 1959

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United Artists

Tony Curtis is “Josephine” and Jack Lemmon is “Daphne” in this screwball comedy featuring 24 minutes of the boys dressing up as women to travel with an all-girl band on board a train headed for Florida. What’s not to like?

Add to this frothy situation the presence of Marilyn Monroe as Sugar Kane Kowalczyk and travel on an old section Pullman sleeper never looked better.

According to IMDb Trivia, filmmakers used Pullman heavyweight, “Clover Colony” for many of the interior shots. This car is still with us and can be visited at the Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum.

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Although the movie was filmed in black and white, many of the studio stills were in color including this group photo of the girl band onboard Clover Colony.

I swear that looks like Angela Lansbury on the far right, but she’s nowhere listed in the film’s credits. It was most likely actress Joan Shawlee who played bandleader Sweet Sue.

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