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Buster Keaton’s The General Turns 90 with Tour and Live Score

To celebrate the 90th Anniversary of Buster Keaton’s classic film The General, throughout August Portland’s historic Hollywood Theatre and Oregon Film will present a state-wide tour of the film with a new live score composed by film composer Mark Orton. Above you can check out a trailer for the film presentation.

Considered one of the best comedies of the silent era, The General finds hapless Southern railroad engineer Johnny Gray (Buster Keaton) facing off against Union soldiers during the American Civil War. When Johnny’s fiancée, Annabelle Lee (Marion Mack), is accidentally taken away while on a train stolen by Northern forces, Gray pursues the soldiers, using various modes of transportation in comic action scenes that highlight Keaton’s boundless wit and dexterity. The climax of the film features a spectacular moment where a bridge collapses as a railroad train crosses it.

The film was shot in Cottage Grove, Oregon. The vast majority of the the location shooting took place just steps from The Bartell Hotel where Keaton and his cast and crew stayed.

Mark Orton, the recipient of a Sundance Composer Fellowship and the artist behind many acclaimed film scores including the Oscar-nominated Nebraska, was commissioned to create a new score for the film and will perform this score live with a full band, including the Mousai Remix String Trio as well as Carla Kihlstedt, Matthias Bossi and Todd Sickafoose.

The General with a new live score will screen at The Hollywood Theatre, which is also celebrating its 90th anniversary, as well as in several of Oregon’s historic theaters, and the film’s shooting location in Cottage Grove. To learn more about Oregon’s historic theaters, check out Oregon’s Historic Theater Project and to learn more about the film’s tour, visit here.

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