7.9/10
8,073
48 user 40 critic

Our Hospitality (1923)

Not Rated | | Comedy, Romance, Thriller | 19 November 1923 (USA)
A man returns to his Appalachian homestead. On the trip, he falls for a young woman. The only problem is her family has vowed to kill every member of his family.

Directors:

(as Jack Blystone),

Writers:

(story) (as Jean Havez), (story) | 1 more credit »
Reviews

Watch Now

From $4.99 (SD) on Amazon Video

ON DISC
1 nomination. See more awards »
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

The Navigator (1924)
Action | Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

Two spoiled rich people find themselves trapped on an empty passenger ship.

Directors: Donald Crisp, Buster Keaton
Stars: Buster Keaton, Kathryn McGuire, Frederick Vroom
Seven Chances (1925)
Certificate: Passed Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

A man learns he will inherit a fortune if he marries by 7 p.m. that same day.

Director: Buster Keaton
Stars: Buster Keaton, Ruth Dwyer, T. Roy Barnes
Three Ages (1923)
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

The misadventures of Buster in three separate historical periods.

Directors: Edward F. Cline, Buster Keaton
Stars: Buster Keaton, Margaret Leahy, Wallace Beery
Sherlock Jr. (1924)
Action | Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  

A film projectionist longs to be a detective, and puts his meagre skills to work when he is framed by a rival for stealing his girlfriend's father's pocketwatch.

Director: Buster Keaton
Stars: Buster Keaton, Kathryn McGuire, Joe Keaton
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A love-struck weakling must pretend to be boxer in order to gain respect from the family of the girl he loves.

Director: Buster Keaton
Stars: Buster Keaton, Snitz Edwards, Sally O'Neil
College (1927)
Comedy | Drama | Sport
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

To reconcile with his girlfriend, a bookish college student tries to become an athlete.

Directors: James W. Horne, Buster Keaton
Stars: Buster Keaton, Anne Cornwall, Flora Bramley
Go West (1925)
Comedy | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

With little luck at keeping a job in the city a New Yorker tries work in the country and eventually finds his way leading a herd of cattle to the West Coast.

Director: Buster Keaton
Stars: Buster Keaton, Howard Truesdale, Kathleen Myers
Short | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

A hapless amusement park attendant finds his run away balloon ride has left him in a strange predicament.

Directors: Edward F. Cline, Buster Keaton
Stars: Buster Keaton, Phyllis Haver, Babe London
One Week (1920)
Short | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

A newly wedded couple attempts to build a house with a prefabricated kit, unaware that a rival sabotaged the kit's component numbering.

Directors: Edward F. Cline, Buster Keaton
Stars: Buster Keaton, Sybil Seely, Joe Roberts
Short | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

After being mistakenly certified as an electrical engineer, Buster is hired to wire a house.

Directors: Edward F. Cline, Buster Keaton
Stars: Buster Keaton, Virginia Fox, Joe Keaton
The Love Nest (1923)
Short | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

In an attempt to forget his lost sweetheart, Buster takes a long trip at sea where he boards a whaling ship with a strict captain.

Directors: Buster Keaton, Edward F. Cline
Stars: Buster Keaton, Joe Roberts, Virginia Fox
Short | Comedy | Fantasy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

After waking up from his wacky dream, a theater stage hand inadvertently causes havoc everywhere he works.

Directors: Edward F. Cline, Buster Keaton
Stars: Buster Keaton, Edward F. Cline, Monte Collins
Edit

Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
...
...
Canfield's 1st Son (as Ralph Bushman)
Monte Collins ...
Craig Ward ...
...
Kitty Bradbury ...
...
Edit

Storyline

After her husband John McKay is killed in an ongoing feud with the Canfield family, a woman takes her baby boy Willie to her sister's house in New York hoping he will never know of the feud with the Canfields. Twenty years later Willie is a grown man and he receives a letter saying he has inherited his father's estate and must travel to his family home to take possession. On the train there he meets a beautiful young woman and falls in love only to learn that she's a Canfield. He accepts her invitation to dinner and quickly realizes that the Canfield men won't kill him while he's in their home. His plan to stay there as a permanent guest is short-lived and the Canfields are soon after him. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

19 November 1923 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

La ley de la hospitalidad  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

Show more on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(1995 alternate) | (copy with French titles at Brussels Musée du Cinéma)

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

During the shooting of the climatic waterfall scene, Buster Keaton inhaled so much water that he had to have first aid. See more »

Goofs

When the donkey refuses to move from the rail tracks, the engineer and others curve the tracks around him. The long shot that shows the train moving past the donkey, however, shows the tracks back in a straight line. See more »

Connections

Edited into The Golden Age of Buster Keaton (1975) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
A Comedy with a Heart of Gold
21 April 2006 | by See all my reviews

Our Hospitality, Buster Keaton's second feature film, marks a great leap forward in his art. It's his first truly plot-driven film (his first feature, Three Ages, was deliberately made as three connected two-reelers, with only the loosest plot to hold the gags together.) It was also the first in which he banished any hint of cartoon-style slapstick and made gags take a back-seat to narrative. The slower pace and subtler comedy show Keaton's confidence that he didn't need to clown non-stop to retain the audience's interest. The grand scale and period authenticity look forward to his masterpiece, The General. Buster had always had a serious side, but this was the first time it dominated a film. Consequently, Our Hospitality is not his funniest work, but it has a unique sweetness and charm, rich with atmosphere and drama. The elegant historical setting and fresh outdoor scenery add to the handsome effect, and Buster's performance is particularly graceful and sensitive. Like the engineer he would portray in his best-known film, The General, his character here is a very polite, deceptively mild-mannered young man who can turn into a heroic athlete without even changing his clothes.

Our Hospitality was inspired by the Hatfield-McCoy feud, and the plot involves Buster, as a sheltered young man raised in New York, stumbling into a Southern blood feud when he returns to his ancestral home to claim an inheritance. The joke of the title is that once he enters the home of the rival family, they can't kill him without violating their code of hospitality—until he steps outside! The melodramatic prologue that opens the film comes as a surprise, but it effectively sets up the tension that runs through the story. It's not overplayed, and it includes a cute turn by Buster's infant son, playing the younger incarnation of his own character, Willie McKay. Grown to manhood in New York, Willie is a gentle, foppish type, introduced riding a ludicrous proto-bicycle (accurately based on historical prints of the Gentleman's Hobbyhorse, the first bicycle.) Informed that he has inherited his family's estate, he boards a train for the South.

Buster's main reason for setting the film in 1830 was so that he could indulge his passion for trains by creating a working model of Stephenson's "Rocket," the first locomotive. The train journey proceeds at a fluid, unhurried pace, blending a string of gags arising from obstacles encountered along the way (donkeys, crafty hillbillies, derailments) with a delicate development of romance between Willie and Virginia Canfield, the young woman sharing his coach. Virginia is played by Natalie Talmadge, Buster's wife at the time. She's pretty and appropriately demure, but it's easy to see why she didn't become a star like her sisters Norma and Constance. She looks nervous and insecure in front of the camera. In addition to featuring Buster's wife, son and father (the lanky, irascible train engineer), Our Hospitality was the swan-song of Big Joe Roberts, who played the "heavy" in almost all of Keaton's early films. Already ill during the making of this film (he died shortly after it was completed), he plays the aged, forgiving patriarch of the Canfield clan.

The sequence set in the Canfield mansion, where Virginia invites Willie to dinner (not knowing he is the last remnant of the rival McKay clan), is very funny, playing the murderous feud against a stately, antebellum gentility. I love the way all the men keep one eye open during the saying of grace; Willie's frantic efforts to avoid leaving the house; and his attempts to court Virginia while dealing with her gun-wielding brothers. Once he flees the house, the film shifts into high gear. The long chase, making full use of the rugged landscape, is exciting and contains much dashing stunt-work on Buster's part: his fall off a cliff while tied to another man, his ride through the river rapids (he almost drowned due to a mishap making this scene—and it's in the movie!), culminating in the famous waterfall climax. I don't want to give away exactly what happens: I'll never forget the thrill of seeing it for first time, unprepared. But even without the element of surprise, the beauty of this stunt, the pendulum arc he describes with his body, always takes my breath away.

One final note: contrary to what someone wrote elsewhere on this page, it was not "standard practice" for silent stars to do all their own stunts. Buster Keaton was unique in never using a double, and probably no star ever took greater risks or endured more physical suffering than he did in the interest of his art. But the supreme achievement is how effortless and understated his performances are; he's not showing off, just attending to the task at hand.


36 of 38 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?
Review this title | See all 48 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page