Thursday, February 09, 2006

Our Hospitality (1923)

Willie's reluctant to leave the house, cause he pooped himself. She can smell it.

Silent Family Comedy

Starring: Buster Keaton (Go West; The Cameraman), Natalie Talmadge

Directed By: John G. Blystone, Buster Keaton (Seven Chances; The General)

Overview: The Canfields and the McKays have an ages-old feud. When Willie returns home to inherit his mother's estate, the Canfields invite their long lost enemy to stay over for some Southern hospitality, unbeknownst to Willie, who has fallen in love with the Canfields' daughter.

Acting: Buster Keaton, comedic genius. The difference between this guy and Chaplin is that Buster was a LOT more stunty. He used to get hurt all the time, it's crazy. He needed first aid in this film too, for that waterfall scene, and his safety cable broke for another scene, which almost killed him as he was swept downstream. Yeah. He's hardcore. As for the rest, their roles are terrific. You'll love it.
Rating: 9

Cinematography: Apparently the little train was a historical reproduction, the bike too. You'll notice little perfections like this throughout the film, the sets, the costumes, just a nice big effort to make it look good, and the stunts are seriously amazing! Obviously before the days of union regulations... and no stand ins for Buster.
Rating: 9

Script: There's even a few laughs in the script, but if you know silent film by now, you'll know that it's not about the writing. In this one, there's just enough explanation without weighing the feud-rich action with lots of story. Let the Pantomime tell itself, I say!
Rating: 8

Plot: The story is a simple one: man gets sent away for his protection from a feud, man comes back to claim his land. Boy meets girl, girl's family want him dead. Dark hilarity ensues. I don't know what it is about these hyper-stunt movies, but they're ultra original. You won't be disappointed.
Rating: 9

Mood: The mood is Classic silent-film-Keaton style. I guess it's hard to rate a trend-setter except by saying that it set a trend, and rightly so, because this stuff was huge, with Jackie Chan being the modern Keaton if you ask me. This one is a truly engrossing and wonderful film.
Rating: 8

"Ah, good day chap, don't mine me wandrin' hand in ye knickers..."

Overall Rating: 86% (No Hostility about Hospitality!)

Aftertaste: No kidding, this guy and Harold Lloyd (the other stunt comedian of this era), I bet they knew each other. They'd have to, they're both nuts. Yes, I'm one of those guys who thinks film should be studied, compared and contemplated, should usually be serious and important, but you know, with classics like these, everyone wins. You become so cool for watching this, and it's a pleasure to endure. It's like those good gore films from the 80s. Where has this style of film gone?!