This Film Is 100 Years Old

Our Hospitality (1923)

Our Hospitality was the second full length feature Buster Keaton directed, a comedic retelling of the historical Hatfield-McCoy feud, but where most of the feud seems to involve falling off cliffs and being swept down rivers.

Unlike his first full length film (Three Ages, which was basically three short films edited together), Our Hospitality actually has a single full length story that runs through the whole thing. Here, after growing up in New York, Buster unwittingly returns to his home town and discovers that basically everyone wants to murder him, except for his faithful dog, and a girl he met on the train.

The first half hour or so of this is fairly sedate, the jokes being of the good natured but not actually that funny sort that elicit smiles rather than laughs, and if it wasn’t for Buster’s excellent dog brightening things up I’d say this section was kind of poor really.

Weirdly, the second half of the film forgets about the dog entirely, possibly because he’s no longer needed to save the show. Instead we get a non-stop sequence of almost pure Buster Keaton magnificence, stunts, action, charm and even actual funny jokes.

Which is nice (and very good).



1. I watched this on blu-ray, where it looked amazing.

2. But grabbed the screenshots from youtube, where it looked less amazing, unfortunately.

3. I think I’m still struggling with the pacing of Buster’s full length films, where it seems they have roughly the same amout of jokes as his shorts, but spread out three times as thinly.

4. Saying that, the last half hour of this is a pretty breathtaking sequence of ever escalating events that presumably would never have been as amazing if it was squeezed down to the fit into a 25 minute shirt.

5. So what do I know, really.

6. Nothing, that’s what.

7. Also, this really does look beautiful in the blu-ray restoration version.

8. All these magnificent landscapes as wide as the screen can show

9. Which is not that wide, due to 4:3, but still beautiful.

10. This was the final film appearance of the wonderful Joe Roberts, who had a stroke during filming and then died shortly after (about a month before the film was released)

11. It was also the final film appearance of Natalie Talmadge, who didn’t die during filming but married Buster Keaton instead.

12. Finally, this was quite fun to watch simply because here I am in the 2020s watching a film made in the 1920s that’s set in the 1820s.

13. Hopefully this means that in the 2120s someone reviews this hundred year old review of this now two hundred year old film set in this now 300 year old time to complete this exciting sequence of events.


Film Information

Title: Our Hospitality
Directors: Buster Keaton and John G. Blystone
Year: 1923
Duration: 75 minutes
Watch: youtube

This Film Is 100 Years Old

Three Ages (1923)

Three Ages is a 1923 Buster Keaton comedy where Buster falls in love repeatedly throughout time. This was the first full length feature he wrote and directed, although it’s only an hour, so not that full length, really.

This is basically the same story (Buster Keaton is in love, and must win his girl from the clutches of some nefarious rival) told three times across three different ages (hence the title), so we get Buster first as a caveman, then as a Roman, and finally as an American.

This is pretty good, with some pretty wonderful gags here and there, but I didn’t enjoy it as much as a lot of his other films. Maybe partly because this is parodying a film I’ve never seen (DW Griffith’s Intolerance), but also because a lot of it feels like remixes of stuff from other (better) Buster Keaton films.

Then again it does feature a stop motion Buster Keaton riding a stop motion dinosaur, and I wasn’t really expecting to ever see that.



1. I watched this on amazon, but the screenshots come from youtube.

2. This was Buster Keaton’s first full length feature as a director/writer/etc. His first as an actor was The Saphead (1920).

3. Which is another film I’ve not seen.

4. Buster Keaton’s second full length feature as writer/directer/etc was Our Hospitality, released on November 19th 1923.

5. So I better watch that soon make sure I just about watch it in the week of release (plus or minus one hundred years).


Film Information

Title: Three Ages
Director: Buster Keaton
Year: 1923
Duration: 61 minutes
Watch: youtube

This Film Is More Than 100 Years Old

The Scarecrow (1920)

In The Scarecrow, Buster Keaton gets to play around with Luke the Dog one last time. Which is nice.

After the relative disappointment of Convict 13, The Scarecrow is a pretty triumphant return to form. The plot as it is involves Buster and Joe Roberts wooing the farmer’s daughter, which culminates in a high speed wedding on the back of a motorbike, which is exciting enough, but the lead up to that is also probably the most consistently funny Buster Keaton film I’ve seen, with almost constant invention and boatloads of charm in just about every single scene.

There’s even some piglets. I like piglets.

So yeah this one’s great. Hooray.



1. I watched this on blu-ray, but grabbed the screenshots from this version on youtube

2. This was the first Buster Keaton film I ever saw.

3. And I loved it just as much now as I did then.

4. Two whole years ago.

5. What I noticed this time (that I had no scope of reference to notice last time), is how easily this one could have been another Fatty Arbuckle Buster Keaton double bill.

6. With Joe Roberts here in the Fatty Arbuckle role.

7. There’s the big man/small man dynamic, the chasing after a girl, Luke the Dog, everything.

8. Joe Roberts even does the coy, fluttering eyelids, thing when he sees Sybil Seely for the first time.

9. Although if this was still a Fatty Arbuckle production it’d have been him getting married at the end I suppose.

10. And also there’d probably have been at least one seen where he does something sort of stomach churningly crass, I suppose.


Film Information

Title: The Scarecrow
Directors: Buster Keaton and Edward F. Cline
Year: 1920
Duration: 20 minutes
Watch: youtube