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‘Mad Max: Fury Road’ and Buster Keaton’s ‘The General’: Together at Last

'Mad Max: Fury Road' and Buster Keaton's 'The General': Together at Last

Mad Max: Fury Road” has drawn comparisons to just about every landmark in the history of action cinema. But here’s one you may not have thought of: Buster Keaton’s “The General.” Keaton is remembered primarily as a comedian, but he’s also one of the best action directors the movies have ever known, staging death-defying gags with deadpan aplomb while the world crumbles around him. Costing a then-astronomical $750,000 and climaxing with a real live locomotive plunging into a river, the movie gains its hurtling momentum from the steam engine at its center, changing course but never slowing down. There are few movies with as singular a purpose built right in — Henri-Georges Clouzot’s “The Wages of Fear,” and, even more, William Friedkin’s “Sorcerer” spring to mind — and “Fury Road” ranks with the best of them.  “When I saw that film, I thought, ‘This is someone who’s incredibly careful with the camera and choreographs quite complex events inside the cuts,'”  “Fury Road” director George Miller told the Telegraph’s Robbie Collin.

Read More: Criticwire Classic: ‘The General’

To recognize their common ground, and to give us a new way of appreciating a classic, Walter Rafelsberger has put together a brief montage of “The General’s” greatest hits and rescored it with Junkie XL’s “Fury Road” score. (It beats a player piano, anyway.) Old Stone Face rides eternal, shiny and chrome.

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