Tampa Theatre’s Restoration Celebration
featuring Members of the Florida Orchestra accompanying The General
Sometimes, genius slips through the cracks. The General, now regarded as one of the greatest and most important films ever made, was Buster Keaton’s biggest box office failure and forced him into a terrible studio deal that stunted his career. Mounting expenses, accidents on the set and Keaton’s rigorous loyalty to its source material meant that the film famously cost $400 an hour to make and recouped less than two-thirds of its budget. But the decades since have recognized the brilliance of The General, a witty comedy based on the true story of a Civil War raid in which a train ran roughshod behind Confederate lines (the allegiance of the train is reversed in the film). Keaton’s willingness to put himself in danger for a perfect stunt, and his passion for the art of cinema, is never illustrated better than it is here, and this film originated some of the most iconic scenes and single images in movie history.
On Saturday, June 2, Tampa Theatre and Members of The Florida Orchestra will present Keaton’s The General in its original silent format and live musical accompaniment, conducted by David Stech with an original score by acclaimed silent film composer Andrew E. Simpson. Given that it was released in 1926 – the same year Tampa Theatre opened in downtown Tampa – it is the perfect film to celebrate Tampa Theatre’s Restoration Celebration. This very special film event will mark the Theatre’s completion of its $6 million Phase I Restoration and will thank and celebrate all who helped support this campaign.