On this day: Buster Keaton stunned audiences in The General

The General was released to a lukewarm audience on 5 February 1926. The silent adventure-comedy, about an engineer trying to retrieve his beloved steam locomotive from a band of Union spies, was made toward the end of the silent era in cinema and was panned by audiences and critics, and failed to make a dent at the box office.

These days, however, it's considered to be one of the greatest films ever made. 

Keaton performed some incredibly dangerous stunts throughout the film, including sitting on a cow-catcher of a moving train (admittedly, a slow-moving one) while dislodging obstructions with a railway sleeper. 

I first watched The General accompanied by a live pianist at a recent film festival, and I was so in awe of Keaton's stunts I nearly choked to death on a Cornetto. Best to avoid snacking while watching these clips.

Abi Whyte is features editor of Ernest Journal