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I'm Andrew. I write about the past and future of tech, music, media, culture, art, and activism. This is my blog.

Silent Cinema: Our Hospitality

Posted: December 18, 2019

I couldn’t sleep last night (noticing a trend this week?) so I decided to watch Buster Keaton’s 1923 silent take on the Hatfields and the McCoys. You can watch it yourself, and read a short review here.

Watch

Review

Wow! This is a great movie. It’s well directed, tightly paced, well scripted, funny, and charming. The plot is a little silly, but that does not take away from the film in any meaningful fashion. There are two stunts in particular that were absolutely stunning. I had never even heard of this movie before I watched it yesterday, and I can’t speak highly enough of it.

It’s the perfect way to waste an hour.

History

The movie is set in the early 1800s. The openning sequence is set in 1810 and later sequences follow a character who was a baby in the openning sequence. We can assume the film takes place sometime around 1830. It was released in 1923. More time has passed since the movie was released than seperates the movie from it’s subject matter, and that’s really neat!

The movie was one of the several Keaton flicks that was correctly copyrighted and renewed. That’s part of the reason I had never seen it before! (I go out of my way to avoid silent films that are under copyright, as the whole concept of a movie that is almost 100 years old still being copyrighted makes me angry.) The film entered the public domain in the US on January 1st of 2019, because the Sonny Bono Copyright Extension Act’s extension period finally ended, so we can start having new public domain films again.

And, of course, there are treasures hiding out there among the formerly copyrighted. This movie was really great, and I’m glad I found it and could share it.


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