When Charlie escapes from prison he dons a preacher's clothes. By mistake he becomes the new minister for the town of Devil's Gulch. Later, discovered as the convict, the sheriff takes Charlie to the Mexican border where he can choose to return, a convict, or face Mexican bandits at war with each other. Written by
Ed Stephan <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The bratty boy was played by Dean Riesner, associate director Charles Reisner's son. In later years, Dean recounted how he did not want to slap Charles Chaplin's face, even though the story called for him to do so. So Chaplin and his brother/co-star Sydney Chaplin continually slapped each other's faces to convince Riesner what fun it was. See more »
Chaplin originally planned "The Pilgrim" as a two-reel short, but it expanded to a four-reel feature. When comparing it to his films at Mutual or before, it's evident how far Chaplin had come with his First National pictures: he took his time elaborating and extending fewer gags and set pieces and in developing the plot and characters. His First National films may not always be as continually uproarious as his Mutual ones, but they are, I think, more satisfying and affecting.
"The Kid", deservedly his most beloved First National release, greatly strained Chaplin's relationship with the distributors. He would leave yet another company to continue in his evermore-ambitious efforts. Jeffrey Vance, in "Chaplin: Genius of the Cinema", makes an interesting observation: he points out that Chaplin plays an escaped prisoner in both his last Mutual film, "The Adventurer", and in this film, his last First National release. They both reflect the filmmaker's escape from confining contracts.
There's some light satire on a religious community and parody of Westerns, and Chaplin gets plenty of mileage out of the common mistaken identity device. I didn't find any of the gags particularly memorable, but the hilarity is sustained throughout the film. "The Pilgrim" is, as religion can be, uplifting.
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