Sunday, June 9, 2024

Up next: 'Our Hospitality' (1923) on Wednesday, June 12 at Flying Monkey, Plymouth, N.H.

A lobby card for Buster Keaton's 'Our Hospitality' (1923).

Just back from a visit to Brandon, Vt. to accompany 'The Thief of Bagdad' (1924), and boy are my arms tired.

I know that sounds like a joke, but it isn't. I'm suffering from a pinched nerve, I think, which is causing issues with my right arm—specifically, the tendons in my right forearm and around the elbow .

It actually hurts to type this, and it hurt to accompany 'Thief,' which is 2½ hours long. I can try to take Advil to manage the pain, but let's just say I drove home with one hand last night.

The good news is that to address this, I need to visit my favorite healthcare professional: Dr. Bard, a chiropractor in Peterborough, N.H.

For personal health issues, I know it's up to me to take care of myself. When I have problems, I don't expect miracles. But that's what Dr. Bard delivers. 

He'll have me lay face down on his special adjustable chiropractic table, manipulate a few vertebrae, and then POW! 

Well, before that happens, I'll be accompanying another film: Buster Keaton's 'Our Hospitality' (1923), which is playing on Wednesday, June 12 at 6:30 p.m. at the Flying Monkey Moviehouse and Performance Center in Plymouth, N.H.

If you're in the area, come see it. And bring some Advil in case I run short.

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Buster Keaton and friend in 'Our Hospitality' (1923).

Contact Jeff Rapsis • (603) 236-9237 •

Buster Keaton stars in 'Our Hospitality' on Wednesday, June 12 at Flying Monkey

Classic feature-length silent comedy to be screened on the big screen with live music

PLYMOUTH, N.H.—He never smiled on camera, earning him the nickname of "the Great Stone Face."

But Buster Keaton's comedies rocked Hollywood's silent era with laughter throughout the 1920s, and remain popular crowd-pleasers today.

See for yourself with a screening of 'Our Hospitality' (1923), one of Keaton's landmark features, on Wednesday, JUne 12 at 6:30 p.m. at the Flying Monkey Moviehouse and Performance Center, 39 Main St., Plymouth, N.H.

General admission is $10 per person.

The screening will feature live accompaniment by Jeff Rapsis, a New Hampshire-based composer who specializes in creating music for silent films.

Original promotional ad for 'Our Hospitality' (1923).

Set in the 1830s, 'Our Hospitality,' tells the tale of a young man (Keaton) raised in New York City but unknowingly at the center of a long-running backwoods family feud.

Resolving to return and claim his family homestead, he sets in motion a perilous cat-and-mouse game in which every move could be his last.

Highlights of the picture include Keaton's extended journey on a vintage train of the era, as well as a climatic river rescue scene.

The film stars Keaton's then-wife, Natalie Talmadge, as his on-screen love interest; their first child, newborn James Talmadge Keaton, makes a cameo appearance, playing Buster as an infant. Keaton's father also plays a role in the film.

'Our Hospitality' is part of the Flying Monkey's silent film series, which aims to show early movies as they were meant to be seen—in restored prints, on a large screen, with live music, and with an audience.

"All those elements are important parts of the silent film experience," said Rapsis, who will improvise a musical score for 'Our Hospitality.'

"Recreate those conditions, and the classics of early Hollywood leap back to life," he said.

Buster Keaton and wife Natalie Talmadge in 'Our Hospitality' (1923).

Keaton entered films in 1917 and was quickly fascinated with the then-new medium. After apprenticing with popular comedian Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle, Keaton set up his own studio in 1920, making short comedies that established him as one of the era's leading talents.

A remarkable pantomime artist, Keaton naturally used his entire body to communicate emotions from sadness to surprise. And in an era without special effects, Keaton's acrobatic talents enabled him to perform all his own stunts.

In 1923, Keaton made the leap into full-length films with 'Our Hospitality,' which proved popular enough for him to continue making features for the rest of the silent era.

Although not all of Keaton's films were box office successes, critics later expressed astonishment at the sudden leap Keaton made from short comedies to the complex story and technical demands required for full-length features.

Accompanist Jeff Rapsis will create a musical score for the film live during its screening, in the manner of theater organists during silent cinema's peak years in the 1920s.

"For most silent films, there was never any sheet music and no official score," Rapsis said. "So creating original music on the spot to help the film's impact is all part of the experience."

"That's one of the special qualities of silent cinema," Rapsis said. "Although the films themselves are often over a century old, each screening is a unique experience—a combination of the movie, the music, and the audience reaction."

‘Our Hospitality’ will be shown with live music on Wednesday, June 12 at 6:30 p.m. at the Flying Monkey Moviehouse and Performance Center, 39 Main St., Plymouth, N.H. General admission is $10 per person. For more info, visit or call (603) 536-2551. 

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