"The True Man of ancient times knew nothing of loving life, knew nothing of hating death. He emerged without delight; he went back in without a fuss. He came briskly, he went briskly, and that was all. He didn't forget where he began; he didn't try to find out where he would end. He received something and took pleasure in it; he forgot about it and handed it back again." - Zhuangzi.
In which Ford picks up where Murnau and Griffith left off. The silent film comparison is instructive, as wide sections of this early talkie—especially Act 1—would play better without dialogue, just letting the storms and the moonlight do the talking. Act 3 is far too pat, but what comes in between shows how much Ford was concerned with loss and regret, and how his view of pre-modern America explored contradictions.
Du prolifique John Ford, on connaît ses nombreuses réalisations rugueuses et aventureuses qui ont pour cadre l'Ouest américain, l'Irlande natale, traversées par un constant souffle épique. En fait, c'est dans la période muette de sa filmographie, que l'occasion se présente d'apprécier quelques mélodrames dignes d'un Capra, soutenus par des acteurs étonnants de présence et de sobriété. www.cinefiches.com
1933 was a terrific year for movies, in the U.S. and abroad. Pilgrimage is a sentimental also-ran from John Ford which boasts a major acting role by Henrietta Crossman as Hannah Jessup, a hard-bitten country mother who destroys her son and his family, but discovers redemption in a trip to his WWI soldier's grave in France. Not a believable reel in its tear-soaked body, but heroic nonetheless.