Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Certified Fresh 80%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Spilled 50%
IMDb Rating 7.3 10 643

Keywords:   pre-code, world war i, arkansas, illegitimate child

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Uploaded By: FREEMAN
April 13, 2022 at 09:18 AM



Hedda Hopper as Mrs. Worth
720p.WEB 1080p.WEB
883.07 MB
English 2.0
23.976 fps
1 hr 36 min
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1.6 GB
English 2.0
23.976 fps
1 hr 36 min
P/S counting...

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by bkoganbing 7 / 10

Her Guilt Overcomes Her Grief

The only other time that I recall John Ford doing a film where women are the protagonists is his last film of Seven Women. Pilgrimage which is set in pastoral rural America is far more a film that could be typical of John Ford even if the men aren't at the center.

Before Darryl Zanuck took over Fox films and merged it with 20th Century Pictures to form what it is today, Fox Films was known as the red state studio. In the early sound era, it's major stars were Will Rogers and Janet Gaynor and a rustic film like Pilgrimage was very typical product for Fox even if Rogers and Gaynor don't appear.

Veteran stage actress Henrietta Crosman stars in Pilgrimage, a rather hard bitten farm woman who lives only for her son Norman Foster. She thinks Foster is slumming when he courts Marian Nixon although God only knows why, Nixon and father Charley Grapewin aren't living any better than Crosman and Foster are. Still she does what she can to break them which includes going to the local draft board and saying she doesn't need an exemption for her son. Foster is off to France where he's killed in the Argonne, but he leaves behind an unmarried and pregnant Nixon who has Crosman's grandchild.

If such a story were to happen today Crosman would be in some kind of group grief counseling. Her guilt overcomes her grief however and she becomes harder and meaner than ever. It's only when she goes to France on a Pilgrimage with other Gold Star mothers that she's finally able to come to terms with her loss. And something else happens over there that speeds up the healing process.

Three other women should also be recognized, Heather Angel as a young woman whom Crosman befriends in France along with Maurice Murphy, future gossip columnist Hedda Hopper who is Murphy's society mother and Crosman's fellow rural rustic Lucille LaVerne who scandalizes all of the ship by smoking her corncob pipe.

I'm surprised that Janet Gaynor wasn't in this film, it was definitely her kind of material. She could have either played Nixon or Angel's part though the role would have had to have been built up.

The cinematography shows an idealized rural America almost like a moving landscape painting that John Ford always so painstakingly worked on to get that rural paradise effect.

Although dated somewhat in technique, Pilgrimage is a universal story and actually could be done for more modern wars like Vietnam or the two actions in Iraq. And Ford does a lot better with this women's picture than he did with Seven Women.

Reviewed by marcslope 7 / 10

Henrietta rules!

Henrietta Crossman, a big Broadway star since the 1890s who didn't have much luck with movies, is a tremendous presence in this uncharacteristic John Ford piece that zeroes in on the waste of war and spends little time glorifying foreign military adventures. As the frankly spiteful mother of a dead soldier she forced into combat, Crossman is as unsympathetic as they come and doesn't care who knows it; an Ethel Barrymore, say, would have somehow conveyed "yes, I'm playing a bitch, but you're still supposed to love ME." Crossman never indulges in such audience-baiting, and it makes her character real and frightening. There's an odd third act that ventures into totally unexpected territory to set up her vindication, and the comedy relief -- was Ford ever good at comedy? -- doesn't really work, relying on ethnic types and seeming at odds with the tragedy at the center. But the overall arc is powerful, abetted by good actors like Marian Nixon and little Jay Ward. And Ford's direction is suitably leisurely, with long tracking and sometimes absolutely still shots, and slow fade-outs that let the audience savor the sadness. It's emotional stuff, and if you shed a tear or two before it's over, you're not being had.

Reviewed by rmax304823 6 / 10

Effective Drama

You'd never know this was directed by John Ford if his name weren't in the credits. There's not a bottle of booze in sight, no fist fights, no comedic interludes. Henrietta Crosman is a tough, domineering Arkansas mother who denies her grown son every privilege of independence. Of course, no woman is good enough for him either. And when he falls for some blond, and she for him, Crosman signs a waiver, has the boy drafted, and sent to France, leaving behind his now-pregnant girl friend. The son is killed in the Argonne.

Ten years go by, during which Crosman avoids any contact with the girl, now a school teacher, and her illegitimate son. Then Crosman is approached by an organization sponsoring a pilgrimage of Gold Star Mothers to the American cemetery in France. She's a bitter old lady by now and spurns their offer but, soon enough, finds herself joining the few dozen other ladies on the trip.

Aboard the ship Crosman gets to know some of the other mothers, including one from Carolina who has three sons buried in France. The two rustic Southern ladies, each pretty tough, get along well and, with the other's good-natured self confidence induced in her, Crosman begins to see that there may be a bit of warmth and amusement in life, after all, that one need not be a carbuncle on the integument of one's community.

In France she accidentally runs into a young man who is having almost the identical problem with his mother that Crosman's son had with his. The authoritative mother is driving the young couple apart. Crosman visits the rich, aristocratic mother and tells the story of her own self discovery. There is a good deal of sniffling and embracing before Crosman throws herself on her son's grave and begs his forgiveness. Back home, she embraces her grandson and his mother.

If it isn't mainstream Ford and it isn't a masterpiece, it's nothing to be ashamed of. It's inevitable sentiment is balanced by the gruff, no-nonsense demeanor of some of the characters. It's all helped enormously by Henrietta Crosman's appearance. (Her acting skills are no more than modest.) She is unable to look at anything without "glaring" at it. Her big black eyeballs in that pale face and under that white coif are overwhelming. They seem not to look at objects so much as look into them. The surprising thing is not that she has a little trouble becoming a warm and loving mother at the end, but that she can do it at all. (I still wonder how she's going to treat her grandson if he shows signs of becoming uppity.) Overall, it's a rather artfully done but routine drama about a person who never had any doubt whatever about what was right and what was wrong. That's an inhuman position. And by the end of the film the character has become human.

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