In the waning days of WWI, a U.S. "Mystery Ship," sets sail for the coast of Spain towing a submarine. Their mission is to find and sink a U-boat that has been especially effective in ... See full summary »
"Pilgrimage" is a phenomenon.First of all ,the subject is not,as the audience is expecting at the beginning of the movie,the story of two lovers but it focuses on the boy's mother ,Mrs Jessop,wonderfully portrayed by Henrietta Crosman.It's very rare that the star of a movie is a middle age woman ,particularly in a John Ford work,even if women often play a prominent part in his films (his last effort was "seven women") Mrs Jessop is a hateful over possessive selfish mom:"I'd rather see my boy dead than with that woman";her hatred knows no bounds when she enlists her son in the army (WW1 time) "whereas other mothers try to hide their son's age".
John Ford wanted the viewer to side with his pitiful heroine only in the last part .His film is never melodramatic because the tragic scenes alternate with prosaic ones (the shooting range in France is telling).And I dare you not to cry when the mom lays withered flowers on the grave and when she meets again her grandson .The cemetery scene is in direct contrast to the ceremony under L'Arc De Triomphe Sur La Tombe Du Soldat Inconnu:between the two moments,Mrs Jessop has become a mother.At last.
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