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The General

Celebrate the 90th Anniversary of Buster Keaton’s “The General” with a Live Orchestra - Love, Locomotives, and Laughs!

“The greatest comedy ever made, the greatest Civil War film ever made, and perhaps the greatest film ever made".  –Orson Welles 

Tickets: Reserved Seating $15 and $25 VIP (price includes Preservation Fee).VIP Ticket includes a private meet & greet with the orchestra and conductor; souvenir poster; preferred seating; Free drink and popcorn.

One of the landmark films of America’s silent film era, “The General,” directed by and starring Buster Keaton, is celebrating its 90th anniversary. The movie will be accompanied by a seven-piece live orchestra performing an original score written specifically for the anniversary by Hollywood composer Mark Orton (“Nebraska,” “The Roosevelts: An Intimate History”). Keaton’s masterpiece follows a Southern railway engineer who has "only two loves in his life”—his locomotive and the beautiful Annabelle Lee (Marion Mack). When Union spies steal his beloved train, Keaton single-handedly pursues it straight through enemy lines.

Portland’s Hollywood Theatre, the Oregon Community Foundation, and the Oregon Film Office have assembled a production that will tour historic theaters across the state: the Egyptian in Coos Bay; the Tower in Bend; the Ross Ragland in Klamath Falls; and the Liberty in Astoria.

Composer and conductor Orton has written a new “Made in Oregon” score for the 1926 film, utilizing a unique collection of rare musical instruments that would have been used in the ’20's. The musicians on tour include a string quartet from the Oregon Symphony and a Foley artist for live sound effects.

Click to read more from Orton on OPB's State of Wonder.

Set during the American Civil War, this silent comedy was one of the most expensive films of its time. The storyline skillfully combines physical comedy, picturesque locations in Cottage Grove, Oregon, and Keaton's love of trains. Its centerpiece is an epic and historically accurate recreation of an actual wartime incident based on the book "The Great Locomotive Chase,” written by the real locomotive engineer, William Pittenger.

In 1989, “The General” was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress, calling it one of America’s "culturally, historically, and aesthetically significant" movies. 

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