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Blue Grassy Knoll and Buster Keaton On The Big Scr

Note: This review is from 2000

Review by Steve Bennett

A silent-movie virgin, I wasn't expecting much from a vintage Keaton flick. I envisaged a scratchy, wobbly print of some dated, unfunny slapstick accompanied by a clunky piano soundtrack.

How wrong I was.

Our Hospitality clearly deserves its classic status, with visual gags as funny today as they were the day they were written in 1923.

Although it's by no means a perfect film ­ the plot is hardly watertight and the narrative is sloppy ­ the extended sequence in which Buster travels west on an early bone-shaker of a train is worth the admission price alone.

There's also a genuinely breathtaking stunt on a waterfall's edge, even more dramatic with the knowledge there could be no special effects wizardry involved.

But what elevates this from a screening for silent movie trainspotters into such a special occasion for anyone, is the spirited soundtrack composed and performed live by Australian gypsy-bluegrass outfit Blue Grassy Knoll.

The new score is a perfect complement to the pacy on-screen antics, and adding a superb extra dimension.

Although occasionally indulging in an anchronistic in-joke and the odd comedy sound effect, the band's witty and lively performance enhances the film rather than upstaging it.

With the live music, and an up-for-it crowd willing to boo and cheer at all the right places, this is the movie as it was always meant to be seen ­ and what a treat it is.

You know, this Keaton chap could just make it big

Review date: 1 Jan 2000
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

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