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Our Hospitality: ULTIMATE EDITION [Blu-ray]

4.8 out of 5 stars 28 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Like his 1926 film The General, this elaborate historical comedy broadened the boundaries of slapstick and proved that Keaton was not just a comedian, he was an artist. Keaton stars as youthful dreamer Willie McKay, who travels westward on a rickety locomotive to claim his birthright, only to find that his inheritance is a shack. And he learns that the object of his affection (Keaton s real-life wife, Natalie Talmadge) is the daughter of a man with whom his family has been engaged in a long, violent feud. McKay s personal struggles are punctuated by brilliant slapstick set pieces that involve an exploding dam, raging waterfalls, and a primitive steam engine. Keaton supervised the design and construction of the train, which he revived two years later for the short The Iron Mule (in which he appears without credit as an Native American chief). This definitive edition of OUR HOSPITALITY features an exquisite orchestral score by Carl Davis, performed by the Thames Silents Orchestra; a documentary on the making of the film; and a rare alternate cut entitled Hospitality . SPECIAL FEATURES: Music composed and conducted by Carl Davis, performed by The Thames Silents Orchestra (in 5.1 Surround or 2.0 Stereo), Musical score compiled by Donald Hunsberger (2.0 Stereo), The Iron Mule (1925, 19 Min.), with music by Ben ModeL, Original documentary on the making of the film, written by film historian Patricia Eliot Tobias with David B. Pearson, Hospitality, a 49-minute alternate cut of the film, with an explanatory introduction, and an organ score by Lee Erwin, 2 Galleries: Photos & Snapshots

About the Actor

Buster Keaton (October 4, 1895 February 1, 1966) was an American comic actor and filmmaker. He was best known for his silent films, in which his trademark was physical comedy with a consistently stoic, deadpan expression, earning him the nickname The Great Stone Face. Keaton was recognized as the seventh-greatest director of all time by Entertainment Weekly. In 1999, the American Film Institute ranked Keaton the 21st-greatest male actor of all time. Critic Roger Ebert wrote of Keaton's extraordinary period from 1920 to 1929, [when] he worked without interruption on a series of films that make him, arguably, the greatest actor-director in the history of the movies. Orson Welles stated that Keaton's The General is the greatest comedy ever made, the greatest Civil War film ever made, and perhaps the greatest film ever made. A 2002 worldwide poll by Sight & Sound ranked Keaton's The General as the 15th best film of all time. Three other Keaton films received votes in the magazine's survey: Our Hospitality, Sherlock, Jr., and The Navigator.

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Buster Keaton, Natalie Talmadge
  • Directors: Buster Keaton, Jack Blystone
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Blu-ray, NTSC, Silent, Surround Sound
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region A/1 (Read more about DVD/Blu-ray formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    Not Rated
  • DVD Release Date: March 22, 2011
  • Run Time: 75 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #38,465 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Blu-ray
For some reason this film is less well-known than a lot of Buster Keaton's others...yet I find it a lot more satisfying than something like Steamboat Bill, Jr. or even Sherlock Jr.! It's got his fixation with trains in the first act, a very fun depiction of old narrow-gauge trains that, like most historical depictions in Keaton films, is based on actual accurate history (exaggerated for comic effect). It's got great comedy and suspense in the main plot, which involves Buster inadvertently stumbling into the home of a family, after falling for the girl who lives there, who are the Hatfields to his family's McCoys (or is that the other way around?), and relying on the family's strict Southern Hospitality rules to keep himself from being shot. Of course, if you know much about Keaton you probably already know this film, but if you've just seen a little, this is one of his best.

As for the Blu-Ray: the main musical option is the Thames Silents score by Carl Davis. This alone is reason to get this edition...his scores for this, Keaton's The General, and other silent era films are among the, tuneful, entirely appropriate yet exciting and never falling into hackneyed contrivances. The transfer is decent...a little more money might have allowed cleaning up the title cards, where the tiny and dense scratches of this print (not as pristine as the one used for Kino's The General Blu-Ray) are very obvious and kind of distracting over the black title card backgrounds. But luckily they don't really show up much in the actual scenes. The transfer is at 1080i - from reading around online that seems to be because this HD transfer was done a few years back before they'd decided 1080p was the way to go for releases, not for any reasons relating to frame rate or anything like that.
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Format: DVD
OUR HOSPITALITY (writ./dir. Buster Keaton, 1923, 73 minutes) is another favorite of mine given to us by the immortal Buster Keaton. I rank this with his The General (The Ultimate Two-Disc Edition) and Our Hospitality/Sherlock, Jr. (I recommend this awesome two-fer DVD set). HOSPITALITY is BK's first great feature-length film, though he had already done a couple of them.

Set in the Antebellum South (1830, Keaton was impossibly ahead of his time making this period authentic-looking) Buster plays Willie McKay, a New York-bred unwilling member of the old Canfield-McKay feud. (Yes, loosely based on the Hatfield-McCoy feud that really lasted only a few years.)

Returning to Kentucky to claim his inheritance (an "estate" that will make you howl with laughter when you see it), Willie soon falls right into the arms of the waiting Canfields. They are, of course, waiting to kill him. Luckily for him he is already sweet on the young Canfield girl (played by his 1st wife Natalie Talmage Keaton) and this will save him later. Uniquely, Buster's son Buster, Jr., plays him at age 1.

There is a waterfall scene in this, and all I'll tell you is Keaton designed and had built the entire thing on one of his lots. Goes to show you, alongside works like THE GENERAL, what Keaton was capable of achieving. You will marvel at Keaton's partly rebuilt, partly restored Stephenson's Rocket locomotive ... and yes, they really did ride those once upon a time.
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Format: Blu-ray
The picture quality of this film is superb, even better for that it is in HD. The Carl Davis score creates such a beautiful and climatic mood which this film requires. The extras are fantastic and the the film itself I have always enjoyed, but now with the Carl Davis score and the beautiful way it has been presented now shoots up amongst my favourite Keaton movies.
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Format: DVD
Our Hospitality (1923) was Buster Keaton`s first true feature film. Keaton's previous "feature," Three Ages (1923) was actually three short films assembled together. There was both an artistic and a commercial reason for this: Three Ages was a parody of the similarly structured D.W. Griffith feature Intolerance (1916). Additionally, Keaton had proved his audience appeal in shorts. Metro Pictures realized the inherent risk of a Keaton feature, and the structure of Three Ages created the option of breaking it down into three shorts. Fortunately for all concerned, Three Ages was a commercial and critical success.

Our Hospitality may be seen, in retrospect, as a model for Keaton's features and a precursor to The General (1926). What separates Keaton from his peers (Chaplin, Lloyd, Langdon) is the way his character integrates into a larger narrative. That is not to say that Keaton's films are not character driven, but the character serves the narrative, not vice versa.

Our Hospitality opens with a prologue of the ongoing feud between the Canfields and the McKays. A young Canfield and the McKay patriarch are killed in a rainy shoot out at night. To avoid the curse of the feud and further bloodshed, the McKay widow takes her infant son, Willie, and sends him north to New York. Meanwhile, the Canfields swear revenge.

Twenty years later, Willie (Keaton) is the personification of a 19th century New York Yankee, adorned in a dandified suit. His mother has since passed away when Willie learns he has inherited his father's estate. Imagining a southern mansion waiting in the wings, Willie hops onto the next train like a salmon returning to its birthplace. Before departing, he is warned by his guardian to stay clear of the Canfields.
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