johnlink ranks THE PILGRIM (1923)

I’m not sure I should be ranking this, as it comes in at around 40ish minutes. But it was considered a feature in Chaplin’s time, and not a short, so I figure what’s good enough for he and his producers is good enough for me. In fact, he owed First National two shorts. They accepted this one feature instead, and let him out of his contract (much to their mutual delight).

I watched THE PILGRIM (1923) on 11.19.10. It was my first viewing of the film.

This isn’t, for me, on par with Charlie Chaplin’s classics THE GOLD RUSH or MODERN TIMES. It’s not even as good as the film I reviewed yesterday, THE KID. But it is still a charming little film.

In this, Charlie is an escaped convict who stumbles upon a Reverend’s clothes, and finds himself the new spiritual leader of a small Texas town. If the film stuck to this, I think it could have had more classic bits. I loved the part of the religiously ambivalent character trying to lead a sermon. But the film diverts from this rather quickly, and gets into more typical Chaplin fare. He falls for a girl, gets picked on by a little kid, he tries to stop a thief, and so on.

There are some particularly fun moments, including the frosting of a bowler hat and the breaking of an alcohol bottle, but nothing which grabbed me and made me laugh out loud the way Chaplin so often does. I could see why this isn’t considered a classic, and it is not surprising considering his disdain for working under the First National umbrella.

If you are a Chaplin completest, or if you want a short fun laugh, go for it. But if you don’t know Chaplin well, by all means don’t make this your first choice.





~ by johnlink00 on November 19, 2010.

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