Technological paradigm shifts can be fantastic fun!
Today’s feature, Our Hospitality, is Buster Keaton’s second full-length film but the first in which he was free to choose cast (including his wife, father and son), subject (a Hatfield vs. McCoy type of feud) and setting (old-timey, with trains).
It starts a little slowly – Buster introduces this comedy with a straight segment of melodrama featuring his son – but as a commenter at IMDb puts it, “things pick up quickly once the funny (but true, from an old photo) shot of 1810 Times Square hits the screen.”
The ending – starting when they chase Buster into the woods – is breathtaking, even today. It makes you wonder how Keaton ever survived all his films if he was that reckless.
In reality, though, he was fairly safe (by 1920s standards anyway)- except in one scene where a safety wire broke and Buster was washed down some rapids. His cameraman followed standing orders to keep rolling no matter what happened. Keaton survived, and the resulting film looked so cool he kept it in the movie. You’ll see it at around 1:03:40.
However, the public had to wait until the 1980s to learn how those dramatic cliff and waterfall sequences were done.
This is one of his best films. Enjoy!