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1. Keaton got the idea for "The General" from a book, "The Great Locomotive Chase" -- a true tale of the Civil War involving Union spies stealing a train and fleeing north to disrupt communications and supply lines. Keaton made the protagonist a southern engineer -- Johnnie Gray. We see him come into town at the throttle of his beloved locomotive, the General. Johnnie leaves the one love of his life to visit the other -- Annabelle. Once they're alone he gives her a gift. What is it?
2. Annabelle's brother arrives with the news that Ft. Sumter has been fired upon. He and his father hurry off to enlist. Johnnie, in his eagerness to impress Annabelle, rushes off as well, scrambling to arrive first in line. But he's rejected by the recruiter. Why?
3. A year passes. A lonesome, dejected Johnnie goes about his work. He watches sadly as Annabelle snubs him and boards the train. But Union spies steal the train during a meal stop, inadvertently kidnapping Annabelle, who is in a boxcar to retrieve something from her trunk. Why is she making the rail journey in the first place?
4. Why is Johnnie alone in chasing the General when it's stolen?
5. Johnnie manages to get another train -- the Texas -- to continue the pursuit, but he also manages to lose the flatcar of Confederate soldiers who were to join him. He stops to hook up a cannon, but his attempts to use it nearly get him killed. The first shot doesn't have enough powder and just launches the cannonball into the cab of the train. Johnnie makes sure he has plenty of powder for the next shot. What goes wrong?
6. The Union spies, thinking that they're being chased by a group of well-armed soldiers, try to hinder the pursuit by uncoupling a boxcar. Johnnie, calmly picking splinters out of his hands as he rides atop the cowcatcher, spots the boxcar and scrambles to deal with the problem by shunting the boxcar onto a siding. The trouble is that, from Johnnie's perspective, the troublesome boxcar inexplicably reappears then disappears. Why is Johnnie so flummoxed by the boxcar?
7. Johnny had been pursuing the General in the Texas, but he ditches the train and makes off into the woods. Why does he abandon the Texas?
8. Caught in a rainstorm, cold, wet, hungry, miserable, and alone, Johnnie sneaks into a house occupied by Union officers. As he's stealing food, the officers approach, and Johnnie's exit is blocked. Where does he hide?
9. From his hiding place, Johnnie is shocked to hear a familiar voice. The spies have brought Annabelle Lee to the house and locked her away. As the Union men settle down for the night, Johnnie steals a uniform and helps Annabelle escape. Johnnie has three goals now -- to get his beloved General back, to warn the Confederate Army of a planned attack, and to get Annabelle to safety. He can accomplish them all if only he can get himself and Annabelle aboard the General. What's his plan?
10. Once Johnnie gets the General back from the Union spies, what's his first order of business?
11. Johnnie pushes to full throttle to evade the pursuing Union train. Soon he needs more fuel. Johnnie brings the General to a stop by a split-rail fence and starts rather ineffectually trying to load the timbers. Annabelle, meantime, is far from idle. What does she do?
12. Annabelle's efforts manage to slow down the pursuit. Johnnie also has a few tricks up his sleeve. He knocks the back wall of the boxcar off and starts tossing crates and barrels onto the tracks, he uncouples the boxcar, and he sabotages the switching on the tracks. But he's so busy stalling his pursuers that he forgets one very important thing. What is it?
13. With Annabelle at the throttle, Johnnie does a couple of things that don't make sense at first. He sticks an uncut piece of fence rail into the fire box, and he makes his way to the front of the engine to fetch the lamp. But we quickly see what he's up to: He's going to set a fire on the Rock River Bridge to prevent the Union supply trains from crossing. Annabelle helps Johnnie by tossing him firewood, but she also bungles things. What does she do that endangers Johnnie?
14. With the Rock River Bridge burning, Johnnie and Annabelle Lee speed into the Confederate camp and warn them of the impending attack. Johnnie buckles on a sword and rushes off to battle. The burning bridge collapses spectacularly under the Union train, but the Union soldiers advance anyway, fording the river. After a series of mishaps, Johnnie manages to blow a dam and flood the river. The Union retreats. The Confederates march back to camp, and Johnnie goes back to his General. There it is brought home to him that he'd forgotten something. What?
15. For his bravery and resourcefulness, Johnnie is rewarded with a commission as a lieutenant. Now he has but one more goal, which he pursues as doggedly as any goal he sets. What is Johnnie's last achievement of the film?
Source: Author ubermom
This quiz was reviewed by FunTrivia editor jmorrow
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