This hilarious comic retelling of the Hatfield-McCoy legend is one of Buster Keaton’s funniest films
With his youthful exuberance, physical energy, inventiveness, and his complete individuality, the comedy of Buster Keaton is truly American in spirit. In Our Hospitality, Buster Keaton is Willie McKay, a young New York City lad who travels west in 1831 to take over the estate of his father, who has been killed in a feud years before. After a long train ride, Willie finds out that the woman he has just fallen in love with during the travel is a member of the Canfield family. They killed Keaton’s father and are out to kill him. There is a catch: because of their hospitality code, they can’t kill Keaton when he is a guest at their house. After a brilliant series of scenes where Keaton tries to stay in their house, the film becomes a breathtaking outdoor chase, winding up with Keaton and his lover floating down the rapids towards certain death. Our Hospitality, Keaton’s first independent feature, is one of his best. It is a purely funny and physical comedy and, incidentally, has his most openly passionate relationship with a female lead, perhaps due to the fact that she was played by Natalie Talmadge Keaton, Buster’s wife. – David Schwartz (USA, 1923, 78 min., b/w, silent, 35mm • Directors: Buster Keaton & John G. Blystone)
Ben Model is one of the USA’s leading silent film accompanists, and has been playing piano and organ for silents at the Museum of Modern Art in New York for the past 27 years. Ben co-curated MoMA’s “Cruel and Unusual Comedy” series and Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle retrospective, and also curated Shout!Factory’s new “Ernie Kovacs Collection” DVD box set. A five-time recipient of the Meet The Composer grant, Ben is a regular accompanist at classic film festivals around the U.S.A. and in Norway, and performs at universities, museums, and historic theaters. Ben is the producer and co-founder of The Silent Clowns Film Series, now in its 14th season in NYC. Ben’s recorded scores can be heard on numerous DVD releases from Kino Video and others. Ben’s composed ensemble scores for films by Chaplin, Keaton and Lloyd are performed around the U.S. every year by orchestras and by concert bands.