Winter 2011 Special Presentations series
Saturday, April 16, 2011 at 2:00pm
Acadia Cinema's Al Whittle Theatre
450 Main Street, Wolfville, NS
Directed by Clyde Bruckman, Buster Keaton
Screenplay by Clyde Bruckman, Buster Keaton
Starring Buster Keaton, Marion Mack and Glen Cavender
Rated NR ·
An imaginative masterpiece of dead-pan “Stone-Face” Buster Keaton, his silent classic, The General (1926) is regarded as one of the greatest of all silent comedies (and Keaton’s own favorite) – and undoubtedly the best train film ever made.
The Civil War adventure-epic classic was produced toward the end of the silent era. Posters describing the slapstick film heralded: “Love, Locomotives and Laughs.” Filled with hilarious sight gags and perfectly timed stunt work (all by Keaton himself!), the chase comedy was written and directed by Buster Keaton and Clyde Bruckman, and filmed with a huge budget for the time ($750,000, supplied by Metro chief Joseph Schenck).
It is memorable for its strong story-line of a single, brave, but foolish Southern Confederate train engineer doggedly in pursuit of his passionately-loved locomotive (“The General”) AND the woman he loves. His stoic, unflappable reactions to fateful calamities, his ingenious and resourceful uses of machines and various objects (water tanks, a large piece of timber, a cowcatcher, a rolling artillery cannon on wheels and unattached railroad cars), and the unpredictable forces of Nature, provide much of the plot.
And appropriately, gifted local musician Krissy Keech will provide live keyboard accompaniment as part of Fundy Film’s contribution to the Acadia Cinema Cooperative’s celebration – 100 Years of Stage & Screen – the centenary of the Al Whittle Theatre site. A silent film with live piano would have been a popular event during the days of the first venue, the Wolfville Opera House (1911) which was added on the back of the T.E Hutchinson building of 1907; and also the next named The Orpheum by new owners in 1923.
Krissy Keech, a native of Grand-Pré, holds degrees in piano performance from Acadia University (BM) and McGill University (MMus). She is working on her PhD from McGill in Music Education and also teaches piano in her Halifax home-studio. As an accompanist she has worked with the Canadian Chamber Choir at Suase, the Nova Scotia Youth Chamber Choir, the Acadia Youth Choir and the Annapolis Valley Honour Choir. A self-taught jazzer, Keech believes in the importance of musical development through improvisation and composition, but “playing for a silent film is a whole new experience,” said Keech. “I’m delighted to be asked for such an event!”