Tuesday, September 29, 2009

18. Our Hospitality (1923)

Running Time: 74 minutes
Directed By: John G. Blystone, Buster Keaton
Written By: Clyde Bruckman, Jean C. Havez
Main Cast: Buster Keaton, Joe Roberts, Ralph Bushman, Creaig Ward, Monte Collins, Natalie Talmadge

Sidenote: To my surprise, I got a call from the library today informing me that Within Our Gates has come in, on my Inter-library loan request. Can't believe it actually came in, because I called them the other day and the lady told me that because only one other library in the entire state of Pennsylvania had the film, it was highly unlikely that it would actually come through. But it did!! So I'll probably knock it off later tonight, so check back at the Within Our Gates post, that I previously constructed, either late late tonight or tomorrow for that review.

Now then...


The first of five Buster Keaton movies as I make my way through the "1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die" text finally pops up and does not disappoint me in the least.

We start out with a brief lesson in the ways of the 1800's, when families used to hold feuds against each other for generations and generations, killing each other and seeking revenge, and back and forth, for no other reason than "that's what their father's did". Our story focuses on two such families: The Canfields and the McKay's.

At the age of one Willie McKay is taken from the violent world that is his birthplace and sent to live with his aunt in New York, without ever being told of the feud that exists between the two families.

All grown up, at the age of twenty-one, Willie (Keaton) receives a letter informing him that his father's estate has gone unsettled, and that he needs to return to claim it and take care of the matter. Willie envisions that the estate will be a nice, big mansion that he can live in and prosper, so he decides he must return. Before leaving, however, his aunt tells him of the feud and warns him that if he should come across any Canfields to beware. On the train ride (possibly the funniest ten minutes of film, I've ever seen) Willie meets a girl: Virginia, the daughter, as it so happens, of Joseph Canfield, the Canfield patriarch, yet Willie doesn't know that at this point.

They arrive back in Willie's birthplace and Willie quickly finds his estate, a rundown old shack, something very different than Willie envisioned. He is eventually invited to dinner by Virginia, still oblivious to the fact that he has agreed to dine with his blood enemies. The Canfields quickly learn of Willie's arrival in to town and prior to the dinner, they try, but many times fail to shoot him, with Willie dodging bullets by accident.

Once at their home, Willie quickly learns that he's dining at the Canfields and due to southern hospitality, they cannot shoot him while he is a guest. At this point Willie makes every excuse possible to stay at the home, knowing that if he leaves he is a dead man. Willie eventually sneaks out and the chase is on, leading to a very suspenseful scene, set on a raging waterfall.

It's movies like this one that make me so glad that I decided to undertake this project, because if I hadn't I probably would have never seen this absolutely brilliant, funny, suspenseful, romantic film. I had a hunch that I would have a good time with the Buster Keaton films and Our Hospitality made that hunch a reality. This film had everything, including some absolutely side splitting comedy. I could tell right off the bat that Keaton was a master of physical comedy and comedic timing, as I laughed more with this film, than I ever would with the curse word after curse word comedies that are served up on a weekly basis today. Keaton was able to make me laugh without saying a single word, and that, my friends, is pure genius at work.

RATING: 10/10 If I could go higher I would, I loved this film and while I said it would be hard to dethrone "Broken Blossoms" as my favorite movie in the book, thus far, Our Hospitality did it.

NEXT UP: Well as I mentioned earlier, Within Our Gates will be the next movie I'll be watching, but after I get that finished...Next up is La Roue...which translates to The Wheel and has a running time of around four hours.

September 29, 2009 4:51pm


  1. Sounds like a great movie, certainly will be checking it out!

  2. Nothing much to add to your comment... Keaton is just great and I have enjoyed them all.. plus a couple more I saw 'in passing' whilst chasing these down (which was surprisingly difficult). Still looking for a (non Book)'The camera man'.


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