Pilgrimage

  • 1933
  • Movie
  • NR
  • Drama

Henrietta Crosman plays the possessive and domineering mother of Norman Foster. Despite his overbearing mother, Foster meets and falls for Marian Nixon. To keep Foster away from his girl friend, Crosman deliberately enlists her own son in the army. As if he doesn't have enough trouble with Crosman, Foster impregnates Nixon. She doesn't tell him about the...read more

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Henrietta Crosman plays the possessive and domineering mother of Norman Foster. Despite his overbearing mother, Foster meets and falls for Marian Nixon. To keep Foster away from his girl friend, Crosman deliberately enlists her own son in the army. As if he doesn't have enough trouble

with Crosman, Foster impregnates Nixon. She doesn't tell him about the pregnancy, though, and he leaves for the service without knowing of her condition. While fighting in the trenches, Foster is the third light on a match. Bullets begin to hail and, before we can see what has happened, the film

cuts to Nixon as she sits up in bed shouting Foster's name. Nixon's father, Charley Grapewin, goes to Crosman to ask for her help in delivering Nixon's baby, a child that is born at the precise time when the father, it is presumed, dies. When Crosman learns the following day that her son has been

killed, she responds by reassembling the picture of him she had ripped up in anger when he chose Nixon over her. A decade passes and Crosman is crueler than ever, denying her own grandson, Jay Ward, the chance to play with her dead son's dog. She is totally immersed in anger, unable to release her

pent-up self-hatred for what she has done. Then Crosman goes on a "Gold Star Mothers" trip to France with a diverse group of women. On this journey she meets Lucille La Verne, who also lost a son. La Verne is a totally different kind of woman, warm and loving. Her influence causes Crosman to have

a revelation so that she admits to the other mothers that her son's death was her doing. While visiting her son's grave in France, Crosman finds a young man, Maurice Murphy, about to leap off a bridge. She takes Murphy with her, and the next day he tells her that his mother, Hedda Hopper, doesn't

approve of his girl friend, Heather Angel, who is carrying his baby. Talking to Hopper, Crosman realizes that she did the same thing. Back in the US, Crosman goes to Nixon, begs forgiveness, and finally accepts her grandson. In the final scene, everyone is united and the feeling is that this

family will never be parted again. Crosman, a grande dame of the theatre, didn't make many movies, but when she did she was magnificent. This movie was made only a few years after talkies began, and director John Ford was able to keep the visual beauty of the silent era without making any

concessions to the microphones. A tough movie with no phony sentiment, PILGRIMAGE concentrates on heart and is quite unlike most of Ford's early action pictures.

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  • Rating: NR
  • Review: Henrietta Crosman plays the possessive and domineering mother of Norman Foster. Despite his overbearing mother, Foster meets and falls for Marian Nixon. To keep Foster away from his girl friend, Crosman deliberately enlists her own son in the army. As if h… (more)

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