Thursday, September 04, 2014

The Pilgrim (1923 film)

Written, directed, scored, edited, and starring Charles Chaplin, The Pilgrim is the story of the Tramp who escapes from prison as he pretends to be a pastor. The film is another of Chaplin’s tale of misadventures as he would play the role of the Tramp. Also starring Edna Purviance, Henry Bergman, and Mack Swain. The Pilgrim is an extraordinary film from Charles Chaplin.

The film revolves around an escaped convict who is on the run as he pretends to be a pastor where he works for a congregation in Texas as he falls for a young woman and later deal with a man from his past. It all plays to a sense of misadventures where the Tramp tries to evade the authorities while being put into strange situations where he has to the new pastor at a Texan church. It’s not just a comedic film where Charles Chaplin plays this criminal who is trying to not go back to jail yet he would also gain redemption in helping a family when it involves an old cellmate.

Chaplin’s direction is quite simplistic at times in terms of his compositions and the way he sets up some of his gags. Yet, there’s also a sense of beauty in his direction in the way he presents the church service as well as some of the tender moments between the Tramp and the young woman he meets. Some of the gags are very creative which involves a visit from a mischievous little boy who is visiting the family that the Tramp is staying at as he causes trouble as it has this unique sense of rhythm and chaos that makes the entire sequence work. Through his rhythmic approach to the film’s editing and an exuberant film score that plays to the humor as well as featuring a song that Chaplin added for the 1959 reissue of the film sung by Matt Monroe. The film plays into this sense of a man’s misadventure as well as a chance to gain some redemption. Overall, Chaplin creates a very fun film about a convict who pretends to be a pastor.

Cinematographer Roland Totheroh does excellent work with the film‘s black-and-white photography as it‘s pretty simple in its look with the exception of a few shots that adds to the beauty of Chaplin‘s direction. Production designer Charles D. Hall does superb work with the set pieces from the look of the church to the home where the Tramp would live in. The film’s fantastic cast includes some notable small roles from Sydney Chaplin in a trio of roles from a man trying to elope with a woman, a train conductor, and a father of a troublesome little boy, Charles Reisner as a former cellmate of the Tramp, Dean Reisner as the mischievous little boy, Kitty Bradbury as the young woman’s mother, Henry Bergman as a sheriff on a train and a big man on the railroad station, Mack Swain as a large deacon, Tom Murray as a sympathetic sheriff, and Edna Purviance as the young woman the Tramp falls for. Finally, there’s Charles Chaplin in a remarkable performance as the Tramp where he brings in a lot of wit and energy to his performance as well as heart in doing what is right.

The Pilgrim is a marvelous film from Charles Chaplin as it’s one of his finest silent comedies in terms of its presentation and humor. It’s also a film that has Chaplin taking on some unique themes while finding ways to balance that with humor. In the end, The Pilgrim is a brilliant film from Charles Chaplin.

Charles Chaplin Films: (Twenty Minutes of Love) - (Caught in the Rain) - (A Busy Day) - (Her Friend the Bandit) - (Mabel’s Married Life) - (Laughing Gas) - (The Face On the Bar Room Floor) - (Recreation) - (The Masquerader) - (His New Profession) - The Rounders - (The Property Man) - (The New Janitor) - (Those Love Pangs) - (Dough & Dynamite) - (Gentlemen of Nerve) - (His Musical Career) - (His Trysting Place) - (Getting Acquainted) - (His Prehistoric Past) - (His New Job) - (A Night Out) - (The Champion) - (In the Park) - (A Jitney Elopement) - (The Tramp) - (By the Sea (1915 film)) - (His Regeneration) - (Work (1915 film) - (A Woman) - (The Bank) - (Shanghaied) - (A Night in the Snow) - (Burlesque on Carmen) - (Police (1916 film)) - (Triple Trouble) - (The Floorwalker) - (The Fireman) - (The Vagabond) - (One A.M. (1916 film)) - (The Count) - (The Pawnshop) - (Behind the Screen) - (The Rink) - (Easy Street) - (The Cure (1917 film)) - (The Immigrant (1917 film)) - (The Adventurer) - A Dog's Life - (The Bond) - Shoulder Arms - Sunnyside - A Day's Pleasure - (The Professor) - The Kid - The Idle Class - Pay Day - A Woman of Paris - The Gold Rush - The Circus - City Lights - Modern Times - The Great Dictator - Monsieur Verdoux - Limelight - A King in New York - (A Countess from Hong Kong)

© thevoid99 2014


Anonymous said...

Chaplin was a gem, and a true pioneer of film, period. I wish more would embrace his filmography as a whole! Nice write up.

thevoid99 said...

I have one more film of his to watch for tonight and that's the last Chaplin film I'll do for a while as I hope to cover the rest of his body of work in the coming years. The man is a genius.