April 11, 2017
The Pilgrim (1923).
Review #923: The Pilgrim.
Charlie Chaplin (The Pilgrim), Edna Purviance (Miss Brown), Sydney Chaplin (Eloper / Train Conductor / Little Boy's Father), Mack Swain (Deacon Jones), Loyal Underwood (Small Deacon), Dean Riesner (Little Boy), Charles Reisner (Howard Huntington), and Tom Murray (Sheriff Bryan) Directed by Charlie Chaplin (#353 - Monsieur Verdoux, #599 - The Kid, #600 - City Lights, #759 - The Gold Rush, #775 - Shoulder Arms, and #820 - Modern Times)
At just under 47 minutes, this was Chaplin's second shortest feature length film (next to Shoulder Arms, which is just a few minutes less than this film), and this was also the last film he made for First National Pictures (which he had done since 1918). It definitely isn't one of his finest pieces of works, but The Pilgrim is at least a serviceable good time. Chaplin does a fine job as usual, playing a crafty convict who impersonates a preacher. One particular highlight is when he delivers an improvised sermon revolving around "David and Goliath", which goes as well as you'd expect. Chaplin can do any sort of stranger role (whether it be a stranger in military action or as The Tramp) with an easy kind of finesse. Purviance (in her last appearance with Chaplin in a feature film) is fairly decent, and the rest of the cast (some familiar to anyone who sees enough silent film) is pretty satisfactory in the roles that they play; Murray is part of a particular good part during the end of the film, with Chaplin "escaping" near the border. The movie goes at a fine pace, owing to its short length, but it is a decent enough movie to recommend because of the serviceable amount of gags it uses, with Chaplin being the key link. In a sea of great Chaplin films, this is a little gem that is fairly useful at being entertainment and sometimes that's all that matters.
Overall, I give it 8 out of 10 stars.