Buster Keaton

Most expensive scene in silent film history

Most expensive scene in silent film history

The above cinemagraph is from the 1926 silent film, THE GENERAL, starring and co-directed by Buster Keaton. And this climatic shot is believed to the single most expensive scene in silent film history, at a cost of $400,000. Considered “one of the greatest of all silent comedies (and Keaton’s own favorite) – and undoubtedly the best train film ever made,” this epic scene, filmed near the town of Cottage Grove, Oregon, used a real train (with a “dummy” conductor) and was shot in a single take.

The silent treatment

The silent treatment

A scene from Ernst Lubitsch’s “So This is Paris,” of which only 10 minutes of films remains.
MoMA has been running a phenomenal program of silent films for the last two years, giving audiences a comprehensive look at the birth of cinema. But in case you missed out on two years of investigating the careers of the era’s most innovative directors, MoMA has put together a ‘best of’ before they switch over to talkies.