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New York, NY - September, 10, 2009 - Kino International, the leading distributor of silent cinema in the United States, is proud to release Buster Keaton's The General (1926) on Blu-ray from a new HD-master. This Blu-ray edition of The General is even sharper than the one currently available on Kino's acclaimed Ultimate Edition DVD (released in 2008) and it is set to arrive in stores on November 10, 2009, with an SRP of $34.95
Consistently ranked among the greatest films ever made, The General has been one of Kino's best selling titles through all of its home video iterations: VHS (1989), laser disc (1995), DVD (1999), Ultimate Edition DVD (2008). With the upcoming Blu-ray release, viewers will be able to see this epic comedy with a level of clarity that would only have been achievable by watching a 35MM print fresh out of the lab.
The pristine image is made possible by the unusual circumstance that the original 1926 camera negative has survived with only minor blemishes. The new HD transfer was made from a 35MM print struck from this original camera negative. In addition to the high level of clarity made possible by the new HD transfer, minor nitrate decomposition present on the original negative has been digitally painted out and corrected - and the film's contrast was brought back to its original levels.
Besides the stunning image quality, viewers will be able to choose their accompanying soundtrack from three optional musical scores, each one of them composed and performed by distinct and celebrated musicians The first score was composed by Carl Davis and performed by The Thames Silents Orchestra, a second score was written by six-time Emmy nominee Robert Israel and a third organ score was composed by Lee Erwin and recorded at Carnegie Hall.
In addition to the optional scores, Kino's ultimate edition of The General brings a tour of the film's locations, filmed intros by Gloria Swanson and Orson Welles, a look at the authentic locomotive used in the filming, presented in association with The Southern Museum, and a montage of train gags from Keaton's many shorts and features.
Rejected by the Confederate army as unfit, and taken for a coward by his beloved Annabelle Lee (Marion Mack), young Johnny Gray (Keaton) is given a chance to redeem himself when Yankee spies steal his cherished locomotive.
Johnny wages a one-man war against hijackers, an errant cannon and the unpredictable hand of fate while roaring along the iron rails. "Every shot has the authenticity and the unassuming correct composition of a Mathew Brady Civil War photograph," wrote film historian David Robinson. "No one-not even Griffith or Huston and certainly not Fleming (Gone With The Wind) - caught the visual aspect of the Civil War as Keaton did."