Review: ‘Our Hospitality’

Our Hospitality
Photo by ITV/REX/Shutterstock

This is an unusual comedy picture, a novelty melange of dramatics, low comedy, laughs and thrills. Jean Havez has built up a comedy masterpiece about as serious a subject as a feud.

This is an unusual comedy picture, a novelty melange of dramatics, low comedy, laughs and thrills. Jean Havez has built up a comedy masterpiece about as serious a subject as a feud.

The feud between the McKays and Canfields starts dramatically in a prolog showing the double shooting of a McKay and a Canfield. The McKay baby is taken north by the widow to remove him from the environment. He grows to manhood in the northern home of his aunt, but is summoned back to his old home to claim an inheritance.

This brings the story up to 1830 and allows for a trip on a railroad train of that period that is a comedy classic.

William McKay (Buster Keaton) meets Virginia Canfield (Natalie Talmadge Keaton) on the train. Unknown to each other, the girl invites him to her house for dinner. Her two brothers and father have sworn to kill him, but their code will not allow them to kill him in the house.

The picture is splendidly cast, flawlessly directed and intelligently photographed. The usual low comedy and slapstick have been modified and woven into a consistent story that is as funny as it is entertaining.

Our Hospitality

Production

Schenck/Metro. Director Buster Keaton, John G. Blystone; Screenplay Jean Havez, Joseph A. Mitchell, Clyde Bruckman; Camera Elgin Lessley, Gordon Jennings; Art Director Fred Gabourie

Crew

Silent. (B&W) Available on VHS, DVD. Extract of a review from 1923. Running time: 81 MIN.

With

Buster Keaton Natalie Talmadge Buster Keaton Jr Joseph Keaton Kitty Bradbury

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