Tuesday, August 29, 2017
An escaped convict disguises himself as a reverend and randomly buys a train ticket to a small Texas town, to escape as far away as possible. There, he is mistaken for the new parson and has to hold a sermon. He is invited to Mrs. Brown's home, where he is attracted to her daughter. However, Peter, also an ex-convict, recognizes his jail inmate and invites himself to Mrs. Brown's home, where he steals her money. The Pilgrim returns the money, but is arrested by the Sheriff. However, the Sheriff allows him to escape across the Mexican border.
Charlie Chaplin's final movie for the First National Company, "The Pilgrim" is an amusing comedy short, yet a one that is much more amusing in the first half than in the rather overstretched second half. Chaplin's gags here are a hit-or-miss affair: some of them work early in the film, especially through the often used technique of slowly revealing more and more details which get the hero into more trouble (for instance, while in train, the Pilgrim shares the same seat with a man reading newspapers. Suddenly, the Pilgrim is shocked when he spots his wanted poster on the newspaper. But as the man unbuttons his jacket, it is revealed he wears a Sheriff's badge, causing the Pilgrim to finally run away) or the more subversive jokes of poking fun at religion (the Pilgrim holding a sermon about: David and Goliath!). However, the jokes seem to lose their inspiration after a while, and the worst joke is probably the one involving a little kid slapping the Pilgrim or anyone around him. The subplot revolving around the Pilgrim's love interest also seems like a "third wheel". However, despite a rather abridged and abrupt ending, it is still a good contribution to Chaplin's early film opus.