The Passionate Pilgrim [1984]
 

The Passionate Pilgrim

As Close To "Panto" As Tom Baker Ever Got ;-)

The Passionate Pilgrim is a short film starring Tom Baker, Eric Morecambe and Madeline Smith.
Made in 1984 and with a running time of just 22 minutes, it is based on one of the poems
in William Shakespeare's The Passionate Pilgrim series of poems. Notably, the three stars have almost no 
dialogue, and classical music is used to emphasis the events that are taking place on the screen. The film
is narrated by John Le Mesurier, in a style that is reminiscent of a children's story - although of course this
film is not intended for young audiences.

Morecambe stars as Lord Eric, who is courting Lady Madeline, a wealthy heiress. However, he has a rival
for her affections in the form of Sir Tom (Baker) who rides up to Eric's castle on a white horse. Coincidentally, 
Madeline dreams of meeting a knight on a white charger, although when the two meet she is more interested
in his horse... Sir Tom is known as Tom the Terrible by the local squires, Tom the Terror by their daughters,
and Tom the Terrific by their wives. He is using the "Good Knight Guide" to find the Silly Damsel, and arrives
at the castle of Lord Eric. Sir Tom then attempts to woo the beautiful Madeline, despite Lord Eric's attempts
to thwart Tom's amorous advances. Tom must contend with a moat, a chamberpot being emptied on his head
and a can of Knight-Rid (a sort of insect repellent for unwelcome knights). Tom has an ace up his sleeve - an
antidote for Knight-Rid, and it seems that nothing will stop him being with the lovely Madeline. However, Lord 
Eric too has one last card to play...

The verdict: 'The Passionate Pilgrim' is a true gem of British comedy, and the three stars film are clearly
enjoying themselves. Tom Baker in particular is marvellous as Sir Tom, and Eric Morecambe is great in what
was his final acting role. It is also one of the few productions in which he does not appear with Ernie Wise.
It was originally intended to be a much longer film, but the death of Morecambe made this impossible, and the
film was eventually released in its current short version. 'The Passionate Pilgrim' has never been broadcast on
TV, although it was released on VHS in the early 1990s (and copies are available on Amazon), while a limited
edition DVD has been released by The Moving Image Company. If you can find a copy of this film, you will not
be disappointed - it is entertaining, highly likeable and best of all, very funny. It also has some great music! And
in case you didn't notice, the last linked photo is a FAKE. ;)

Epilogue

Addenda

 

Midi file this page: "Child Song."

 

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