The Most Expensive Shot Of The Silent Film Era
November 05, 2012
This gif is a clip from the single most expensive scene shot in silent film history. The film is Buster Keaton’s “The General” (1926) and had a total budget of $400,000.
It was filmed in a single take with a real train.
Keaton filmed the collapse in the conifer forest around the town of Cottage Grove, Oregon, using 500 extras from the Oregon National Guard. They all dressed up in Union uniforms and were filmed going left-to-right before changing into Confederate uniforms and being filmed going right-to-left.
The production company left the wreckage in the river bed after the scene was filmed. The wrecked locomotive became a minor tourist attraction for nearly twenty years. The metal of the train was salvaged for scrap during World War II.