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April 2001, Week 5


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Donald Larsson <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Mon, 30 Apr 2001 09:08:37 -0500
TEXT/PLAIN (34 lines)
Albert Ty wonders:

> Just saw the Buster Keaton film The General last week and have
> watched it repeatedly since! Just one question though...when Johnnie Gray
> reports that The General had been stolen by what he thought were deserters,
> he starts rallying Southern soldiers to board the train. He removes the peg
> that links the cars together and goes on his way. And yet, just before he
> sees the train cannon, he seems to be shocked that he's the only one in
> pursuit. My question--which is a bit embarrassing to ask--is whether he was
> intentionally pulled out the peg to separate the trains or what? Was it to
> make his "abandonment" of the soldiers look like a mistake?

Your question intrigued me enough to look at the scene again for
myself.  If you look closely, you'll see that he's actually pulling the
pin that links the flatbed car with the soldiers from a *boxcar* on the
other end.  He then takes off, unaware that the flatbed was never
attached to the engine in the first place.

The scene is a bit confusing because of the editing. The shots
*violate* the 180-rule.

Don Larsson

Donald F. Larsson
English Department, AH 230
Minnesota State University
Mankato, MN  56001

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