These powers are unique to Keaton, who has been widely considered superior to Charlie Chaplin for his "gentle coolness" and "deadpan bewilderment," (MacDonald 6). Both in the General and Sherlock Jr., Keaton is at his best. However, the General is a deeper and more memorable movie from the point of cinematography, direction, editing, and acting.
Buster Keaton is one of Hollywood's shining stars of the silent era. After the advent of "talkies," Keaton's career nosedived for obvious reasons. It was easier to transition from live performances in vaudeville to silent motion pictures, but the new talkies meant whole new business models in Hollywood. The dynamics had changed. Keaton's work, as was the case with most film stars of his era, remained literally silenced until they were revived and re-appreciated. Serious students of film and filmmakers today hearken to Keaton's work. He was been described as the "best comedy director in the business," for good reason (MacDonald 5).
Bermel, Albert. Farce: A History from Aristophanes to Woody Allen. Southern Illinois University Press, 1990.