Running Time: 79 Minutes | Genre: Comedy
Synopsis: A Double Bill of Dinner for One and The General.Described by Orson Welles as “the greatest comedy ever made, the greatest Civil War film ever made, and perhaps the greatest film ever made”, Buster Keaton’s The General is a comedy adventure classic and the last major film of the silent era.It’s based on a true incident, the Great Locomotive Chase; with the ‘General’ of the title referring not to Keaton’s character, engineer Johnnie Gray, but to his engine. Gray has been rejected by both the Confederate Army and by his fiancée Annabelle but when Union spies steal the General (and, unwittingly, Annabelle), he gets a chance to exercise heroism – with Keaton’s trademark deadpan humour – to catch up to the General and rescue his beloved.In what was an ambitious and very expensive production at the time – they really did tip an entire burning train off a bridge for one scene! – Keaton performs all his own stunts, using his incredible comic timing and body language to create hilarious, near perfect entertainment.Dinner for One
First UK public screening
Every New Year for almost 50 years Germans have been laughing hysterically at a short British slapstick film. Dinner for One is a magical comic sketch and its popularity has spread to Scandinavia, throughout Europe, South Africa and Australia, holding the Guinness World Record for the most repeated TV programme ever – but it’s never been screened publicly before in the UK until now.
The ageing Miss Sophie has invited the usual guests to her 90th birthday party; unfortunately they all died some time ago. Her butler James fills in for her late friends, which includes swigging their drinks. Viewers fall about with laughter at this single-take masterpiece of slapstick and comic timing featuring British comedians Freddie Frinton and May Warden. It’s impossible not to laugh at their antics!These events are made possible by Comedy Genius, a celebration of comedy on screen, led by BFI, the Independent Cinema Office and BFI Film Audience Network, supported by funds from the National Lottery.