Buster Keaton and Joe Roberts


Directed by               Buster Keaton, John G. Blystone
Produced by             Joseph M. Schenck
Scenario by               Jean Havez, Clyde Bruckman and Joseph Mitchell         
Starring                     Buster Keaton, Joe Roberts
Cinematography       Elgin Lessley, Gordon Jennings
Distributed by           Metro Pictures Corporation
Release date               November 19, 1923
Running time             1 hour, 14 minutes
Country                      United States
Language                    Silent film, English intertitles


"Our Hospitality" is a sparkling comedy, included in our program to celebrate the work and contributions of our star Joe Roberts. 

The feud between the Canfield and McKay families has taken the lives of many men on both sides.  When the infant Willie McKay (Buster Keaton) loses his father, his mother takes him away to be raised in safety.

Twenty years later young Willie receives a letter, inviting him to come back and claim the estate he inherited.  His aunt, who raised him, tells him the story of the feud and warns him to stay away from the Canfields.

In a train trip full of adventures Willie travels with a girl going to the same town.  Upon arrival he asks a young man for directions.  The man is quick to inquire and learn that Willie belongs to the McKay family, his mortal enemy, as he himself belongs to the Canfields.   The man makes several unsuccessful attempts to borrow a gun and shoot Willie.

The current patriarch of the Canfields, Joseph (Joe Roberts) upon learning that a McKay is in town mobilizes his sons to take care of business.  In the meantime he is told by his daughter that she invited a nice young man from the train trip for dinner. 

Serious complications arise when both sides realize that one enemy is a guest in the home of the other.  The host is prevented by a certain code of honor to kill anybody in his home, so Willie makes himself a permanent resident of the house.

Things change, however, when the girl also learns about the identity of her suitor and rejects him.  With nothing to lose Willie makes a daring escape and runs for his life, chased by the armed Canfield gang across fields, hills and rocky cliffs.

Then the girl changes her mind and decides that she doesn't want Willie to die.  She tries to help him but they both end up being carried down the river towards deadly falls.  In a daring and miraculous stunt Willie catches the girl from going down the falls to certain death.

After a fruitless chase the Canfields return home, only to find the parson getting ready to declare Willie and the girl man and wife in a marriage ceremony.  Joseph Canfield is tempted to use his gun on Willie. Will he shoot his daughter's chosen man and make her miserable for life, or will he give her his blessings and relegate the family feud to history?


Three generations of the Keaton family played in the film: Buster Keaton's father Joe Keaton was the train engineer, Buster Keaton played Willie McKay and his infant son was baby Willie in the prologue. 

Joe Roberts played his last role as Joseph Canfiled.  He had a stroke during filming, but insisted on continuing work.  He died shortly after the film was completed.  This was the biggest role of his life, and he made a significant contribution to the film's tremendous success.  Joe Roberts also partnered with Buster Keaton in 16 of his 19 short films as well as in "Three Ages".


The film is ranked number 28 in the list of The Top 100 Silent Era Films of the influential website Silent Era.

"Our Hospitality" enjoys a very strong rating in IMDB.


Our Hospitality (1923) on IMDb



Click to enlarge:


Joe Roberts in Our Hospitality 1923 43

   Joe Roberts