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Our Hospitality Reviews

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Bryce I

Super Reviewer

July 29, 2014
While the film's indicates are slightly obvious, Buster Keaton's second feature is still a favourite of mine amongst the collection and dare I say, almost contests the ingenuity of Sherlock Jr. The characters are vibrant, the plot is hilarious and while the satire is dated, Keaton's slapstick is unique even amongst Chaplin and Lloyd's greatest work.
Carlos M

Super Reviewer

July 17, 2014
There are many amusing moments here (the bumpy train, the dangerous river ride, Keaton afraid of leaving his foes' house and be killed) and a good eye for props and elements (the dandy horse, the tunnel shaped like a train) that make this a funny, enjoyable comedy.
May 19, 2014
I feel this could have been funnier. Should have had a longer dinner scene with an added grandmother character also in on trying to kill Buster (perhaps with poison in his food). Keaton apparently loves trains, though I feel the train sequence here is just mostly filler.
April 16, 2014
Love thy neighbor. So this is about a boy (Buster Keaton) that falls for a girl that is the daughter of a family that has been trying to kill his family for generations. Now I really dig the Romeo and Juliet premise behind this; I was sold when I read the line "The only problem is her family has vowed to kill every member of his family" in the plot summary. Speaking as somebody who is a huge fan of Keaton's shorts and features, I don't feel that the execution here is ideal. While the core idea of this Hatfield-McCoy-esque feud is great, there is an excessive amount of set-up, and it takes a long time before it gets going. If I were to edit this down, I would have cut out the train sequence entirely, or at least whittled it down to a 5 minute montage; Buster does trains better in The General, and it really doesn't add all that much to the story, apart from setting up the initial, timid relationship between the boy and girl. Once they get off the train, that's when it picks up and you are able to get into it. All is forgiven if you can stick the finale with some stunt fireworks, and as always, Keaton puts himself at huge, personal risk, and it is always entertaining to watch. I would feel a lot more positively about this if it didn't feel as long as it does (silent films typically feel 1.5 times longer than their actual runtime), and I do believe this would work better as a 40-minute featurette than the 65-minute feature that it is edited to be.
filmlover1994
December 10, 2013
My Favorite Comedy Film Is 1933's Duck Soup.
August 2, 2013
A young New Yorker goes back to his native south to inherit his father's property only to be embroidered in a long standing family feud, and fall in love with the young girl from his rival family. Keaton is in his prime in Our Hospitality, his second feature which is built around the structure of the chase movie and which shows his great sense of timing and pacing as well as unleashing some great gags. While it may not be his most memorable among his masterpieces of the slapstick comedy genre, it's highly entertaining and a real gem.
May 25, 2013
one of the best comedy ever seen
April 21, 2013
Another top-notch Buster Keaton film, one that probably peaks too early as I thought the climactic chase, while very entertaining, sort of lacked that 'wow' factor that made Seven Chances and that films chase sequence so memorable. Not to say there aren't so ballsy stunts, because there are, but they're just not as memorable The story, unsurprisingly, is simple and, as always, effective. It tells the feud of these two families (think the Capulets and the Montagues in Romeo and Juliet) and how the love between Buster's character and Natalie's character puts an end to a senseless feud. The ending was actually quite sweet in seeing how the head of the family chooses to put aside his hatred for the sake of his daughter. Of course the film is still full with a lot of clever and inventive sight gags and set pieces. If there's anything where Buster is far and away better than his contemporaries is his incredible use of visual gags and wilder stunts. This definitely wouldn't be my favorite but it's still another great example of Keaton's greatness. Definitely a must-see for any hardcore Keaton fan.
March 23, 2013
One of those rare comedy films that is both hilarious in it's basic plot situation in and of itself, but there are moments throughout the film that are quite funny as well.
February 25, 2013
Another great Buster Keaton movie.
Anthony B.
February 20, 2013
A fun slapstick comedy from genre master Buster Keaton.
gillianren
January 21, 2013
Really, the Framing Device Isn't the Point

Buster Keaton nearly died on any number of occasions, if you read the trivia about making his movies. This is because he did his own stunts, and he relied on making the story as impressive as possible by dangling of cliffs or buildings, or floating down rivers, or whatever else he deemed visually interesting and at least theoretically relevant to the plot. Even without being the same kind of crazed perfectionist Charlie Chaplin was, he risked a fair amount during the making of his films. Indeed, he is one of the three members of the triumvirate of Great Silent Film Comedians, along with Chaplin and Harold Lloyd. Unfortunately, since I tend to prefer wordplay with my comedy, I don't have that much of an interest in Great Silent Film Comedians, though I certainly appreciate the artistry involved. I also find it impressive how much Keaton risked for his craft, even if I don't always care about the results.

The plot here doesn't much matter, but we'll describe it anyway. In the long-ago South, feuds were just a thing that happened. In particular, we are here dealing with the feud between the McKay and Canfield families. One stormy night, John McKay (Edward Coxen) and James Canfield (Tom London) kill each other. McKay's wife (Jean Dumas) takes her son, the last of the McKays, to her sister's place in New York, where she dies and he grows up to become Buster Keaton. One day, he receives a letter telling him to come home and claim his inheritance. On the train South, he meets a lovely young woman (Natalie Talmadge), who of course turns out to be the daughter of Joseph Canfield (Joe Roberts). Joseph had wanted to end the feud until his brother was killed, but now, he considers it the family's sworn duty to kill Willie McKay. At first, they can't because he is a guest in their home, and that would violate hospitality. And then, things just get silly.

I will say that the recreation of the historical train is fairly impressive, but the scenes on it go on far too long. We get the First Hobo hitching a ride under one of the cars, a wacky joke about how soot looks like blackface, a play on the fact that the tracks aren't fastened in place the way they later would be, and so forth. And most of it is at least moderately amusing, but really only moderately so. It also has little or nothing to do with the story. I suppose it's one of the hazards of silent comedy; we can't really show Willie and the girl (of course she never gets a name) getting to know one another, because that would be a lot of boring title cards. So instead, we pad with whimsy. As I said, it's to do with why I'm not a huge fan of silent comedy over all. Some of the sight gags, in this scene and elsewhere, did genuinely make me laugh, but I also laughed when I was reading possibly more than was meant to be there out of one of the title cards.

It seems odd, I know, to speak of padding in such short films, but I've done it before and with even better cause. (Ed Wood, I'm looking at you!) However, the plot and the shenanigans of this movie never quite seem to come together. There's the funny running gag of Willie's shooting off the gun of Whichever Canfield Son It Is every time he gets the chance (the movie is set long enough ago so that the first step to reloading is pulling out his powder flask), and that actually ties into the plot. But the most impressive part of the film is a lengthy sequence involving Willie's floating down a river with a rope tied around his middle, and it doesn't have much to do with the story. I mean, there's the obvious fact that it was filmed in the mountains of California, not anywhere that even really looks Southern, but there's also the fact that it doesn't move the story along. It's yet another place where the story grinds to a halt. It's impressive, and even entertaining, but it doesn't have anything to do with anything.

Another thing which bothered me is frankly not the fault of the movie. It's Kino again--well, most silent movies available on DVD are available from Kino and no one else. Even Criterion doesn't release many. This particular disc also comes with [i]Sherlock Jr.[/i], an okay film that I didn't consider worth reviewing. So it is only here that I will note that [i]its[/i] score, written in 1993, includes a play on the Bond theme. There is another place where it uses instruments that did not yet exist in 1924. I know this is fiddly of me, but it really bothers me about the Kino releases. The scores often sound to have been recorded on someone's Casio keyboard. It's silly, given that it can't be all that expensive to just use a piano. Most of these movies would have had scores written for them, though I admit not all of them. To be honest, I'm not entirely sure how you'd check on that. But either way, it wouldn't be difficult to reproduce the kind of score that actually would have been used, and Kino seldom seems interested.
January 15, 2013
Wow i was laughing so hard during the movie. the stuns were amazing and perfectly demonstrate by Buster Keaton. i could watch this movie again and again, and still will laugh over its scenes :)
January 12, 2013
Funny take on those old family feuds from the late 1800's. The ending features some pretty amazing stunt work by Keaton.
January 11, 2013
Interesting take on Hatfields-McCoys by Buster Keaton. Definitely a must-see for any lover of slapstick, especially silent schtick. Good ol' Buster.
January 6, 2013
A great Keaton film. (Is there any other kind?) Buster does a very good job recreating the Hatfield and McCoy feud. Some of this movie is serious, some hysterical. Buster's direction and his fascination with gadgets is in full bloom. Recommended for everyone.
FilmFreak93
December 2, 2012
Buster Keaton's Our Hospitality starts in the year 1810, in the wild west where a family feud between the Canfield and the McKay family that has bin going on for decades, and it's certainly happens again one storm full night, when Mr. McKay and Mr. Canfield settles their differences by having a duel, where both get hit and fall dead. This causes even more hate, and McKay's wife and infant son, Willie have to flee and live with her sister in New York. Twenty years later, Willie (Buster Keaton) inherit his father's estate, which is now in his name. On the train back to his birth place he meets a girl named Virginia, who's last name is in fact Canfield, the enemies.

Our Hospitality is based on the real-life Hatfield-McCoy feud. And it's amazing how Keaton is able to turn this concept into a comedy. With all of the Canfield always caring a gun, and shoots after Willie as if he were a duck. But they try to keep a dignified tone when Virginia is around. But the guns takes minutes to reload back in the mid 19th century, which makes it difficult for them to get a precise shot. Other things besides all the shooting there's a lot of pretty funny acrobatic train scenes, where wagons falls of, or the train gets on the wrong track and even out of the tracks. And Willie's dog from New York is so faithful and follows the train, and is a good companionship for better or for worse. Buster Keaton certainly doesn't fail with this one. Thumbs up.
July 5, 2007
Buster Keaton movies, like those of Charlie Chaplin are almost always worth watching. This was no exception.
hunterjt13
hunterjt13

Super Reviewer

November 17, 2012
A man journeys to the South to claim his inheritance, but he falls in love with the daughter of a rival family along the way.
One of the stunts during the third act is one of Keaton's most amazing physical achievements in a career of amazing physical achievements. Considering the time this film was made and the technology available, I am always in awe of Keaton's technical prowess no matter what film I'm watching.
The story is a satire of Southern codes of honor, one of the first times I've seen Keaton criticizing Southern mores, and the result produces some madcap ridiculousness.
Overall, Our Hospitality is funny, entertaining, and contains some vintage Keaton, a master of the silent medium.
October 8, 2012
The comic level of Buster Keaton's Our Hospitalty may not reach tto that of Chaplins but it is very solidly directed and some scenes may shock you as it is a ninety year old movie.
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