“Once upon a time in certain sections of the United States there were feuds that ran from generation to generation.”
In the 1800s, a young man (Buster Keaton) traveling to claim his inheritance in Appalachia falls for a girl (Natalie Talmadge) he meets along the way. Soon he learns that Talmadge belongs to a family his ancestors have been feuding with for generations, and that her father (Joe Roberts) and brothers (Ralph Bushman and Craig Ward) will do anything to kill him.
Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:
- Buster Keaton Films
- Historical Drama
- Silent Films
Our Hospitality is notable as Buster Keaton’s first “official” feature-length film (Three Ages, which came out two months earlier, was released as a single full-length feature, but actually created as three separate “shorts” in case it failed in its longer form). Our Hospitality demonstrates Keaton’s typically keen attention to historical detail, with several fun props — i.e., a miniature steam engine known as Stephenson’s Rocket, and a pedal-less bicycle called a Dandy Horse — actual replicas of authentic items. It also showcases several of his most inventive and daring set pieces — most memorably the peerless waterfall finale, which was filmed on a set but nonetheless placed Keaton in harm’s way several times (including sending him to the hospital once for inhaling too much water). Meanwhile, the storyline itself, while incredibly simple in concept — Keaton tries to avoid being killed! — remains humorously inventive throughout.
Redeeming Qualities and Moments:
- Fun historical set pieces and props
- Many enjoyable sight gags and scenarios
Yes, for its historical relevance as Keaton’s first (authentic) feature length film, and for its sheer inventiveness. Listed as a Personal Recommendation in the back of Peary’s book.
(Listed in 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die)