Film Comment - 03/01/2011
"Keaton's gags always appear both effortless and accidental, preserving his unassuming protagonist's status as the eternal underdog, always waiting for the other shoe to drop."
Description by OLDIES.com:
Like his 1926 film The General, this elaborate historical comedy broadened the boundaries of slapstick and proved that Keaton was not just a comedian, he was an artist.
Keaton stars as youthful dreamer Willie McKay, who travels westward on a rickety locomotive to claim his birthright, only to find that his inheritance is a shack. And he learns that the object of his affection (Keaton's real-life wife, Natalie Talmadge) is the daughter of a man with whom his family has been engaged in a long, violent feud. McKay's personal struggles are punctuated by brilliant slapstick setpieces that involve an exploding dam, raging waterfalls, and a primitive steam engine. Keaton supervised the design and construction of the train, which he revived two years later for the short The Iron Mule (in which he appears without credit as an Native American chief).
This definitive edition of Our Hospitality features an exquisite orchestral score by Carl Davis, performed by the Thames Silents Orchestra; a documentary on the making of the film; and a rare alternate cut entitled Hospitality.
DVD extras include:
Music composed and conducted by Carl Davis, performed by the Thames Silents Orchestra (in 5.1 Surround or 2.0 Stereo)
Musical score compiled by Donald Hunsberger (2.0 Stereo)
"The Iron Mule" (1925, 19 min.), with music by Ben Model
Original documentary on the making of the film, written by film historian Patricia Eliot Tobias with David B. Pearson
Hospitality, a 49-minute alternate cut of the film, with an explanatory introduction, and an organ score by Lee Erwin
2 Galleries: Photos & Snapshots
Buster stars as a man who travels south in 1830's America to claim a family inheritance, only to find himself in the middle of a longtime family feud. Silent film.
Buster Keaton's charming, nostalgic look at old-fashioned Southern mores, manners -- and murder. William McKay grew up in New York City, ignorant of his family's past in the rural south and the blood feud that lead to his father's death. But now Willie wants to return to the old homestead and reclaim his inheritance. On the trip, he sits next to the lovely Virginia Canfield, and is instantly smitten. She likes him too, and invites him to her house for dinner. Only problem: she's the daughter of his family's nemesis, who has no intention of forgiving and forgetting. But how can Canfield kill Willie when it's against southern hospitality to shoot someone in your house' As for Willie... well, he's just never going to leave...
Family Interaction |
Produced by Buster Keaton Productions.
This was Buster Keaton's second feature film, and it included several members of his family in the cast. Natalie Talmadge, his wife, played Virginia Canfield, and their baby son played Willie Canfield as an infant. Joe Keaton, Buster's father, took the role of the conductor on the charmingly primitive train that was painstakingly recreated for the film. In addition, Joe Roberts, who played the patriarch of the Canfield clan, was an old friend from the Keatons' vaudeville days and the villain in many a Keaton short. He was seriously ill throughout most of the shooting, and died shortly after the film was completed.
The hobbyhorse (an old-fashioned bicycle) that Keaton rides at the start of the film was so accurately rendered that the Smithsonian included it in their exhibitions -- an authentic one no longer existed.
Film originally ran approximately 6300 feet.
Copyright 1923 Joseph M. Schenck Productions. Renewed 1951 Loew's Incorporated.