Sunday, January 31, 2010

Capsule Review: Our Hospitality (1923)

Our Hospitality begins with an extended prologue setting up the age old feud between the southern McKays and Canfields (obviously based on the Hatfields and McCoys) that is played almost totally straight, and is wonderfully staged, before we move right into the story of the na├»ve Willy McKay (Buster Keaton) returning to his hometown blissfully unaware of the feud. It’s when he finally understands (and falls for the youngest Canfield daughter) that things get interesting, as Southern hospitality keeps the bitter Canfields from murdering Buster as long as he’s a guest in their house. This leads to various scenes of Buster desperately trying to remain an inhabitant, going to extremes while the family tries in vain to get him to leave. While not as continually satisfying as The General, or as inventive as Sherlock Jr., Our Hospitality remains one of Buster’s best – and the waterfall climax is certainly one of his greatest moments.

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