Edna Purviance's bio

Currently working on Edna Purviance's family biography. Photo: Leading Ladies © used by ednapurviance.org

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Comparing Charlie Chaplin's THE PILGRIM

Joao Antônio Franz dos Santos has created this wonderful comparison video showing the official release of THE PILGRIM (as Charlie Chaplin had last edited it for The Chaplin Revue in the late 1950s) and a much earlier Russian version released closer to the original silent version.

Don't know the exact year of the Russia version, but could have been an original silent version released with sound during the 1930s, since the frame isn't as wide. But Joao was going through his collection and re-discovered it, so can't remember when he got it, but decided to make this comparison to show the differences.

Sample from Joao's comparison, showing Edna & Charlie in scene not in the any official version.

The Russian version is not restored, but putting that aside, you'll see totally different takes, more close ups, scenes not seen anywhere else, changes in speed, and general different feel of Charlie's character, that Chaplin edited together in the earlier version. I and others, have seen a more gentle version of Charlie's character in his last edited films, over his earlier edited films during his career. (I did a report on The Kid a few years ago.)

I personally enjoy seeing these earlier versions, because it tells me more about Chaplin during his filmmaking years, over the period he was retired and re-editing his work for a modern audience. He shifted his character to being more gentle and polite in his later edits, every chance he got. I have now seen the same change in The Kid, Shoulder Arms, Pay Day and now The Pilgrim. (Should say, also love the silent version of The Gold Rush, over the narrative one in the 1940s.) Just something more real about this character in his earlier edits.

Chaplin also was more balanced in showing the other characters he played with. To me, he seemed to refocused the last edits toward himself more, and removed bits to whole backgrounds of the other characters. (I thought Jackie had some of his best scenes in an earlier version of The Kid, but could say the same for some of Chaplin's scenes, as well.) Great film in both, but love the earlier version as Charlie's character seems more real, and not as polished. The best thing I like about the last edited films is the music, but really like the earlier versions for the character and story.

These films were released by Chaplin since he owned the copyright from 1918 onward, so he approved of both, just in different eras. Just love seeing the earlier Chaplin, when he was in his prime years and seeing films his peer audiences saw. Thanks to Joao for making this comparison. Great study!

Also has scenes not seen of Edna Purviance in other versions, which is great for Edna's fans!

Comparison created by Joao Antônio Franz dos Santos

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