Friday, July 27, 2012

187 - The Gold Rush (1925)

Blu-Ray Box
The tramp looks for gold.

It's 1898 and the height of the Klondike Gold Rush. The tramp (Charlie Chaplin) heads for Alaska to join the hunt but finds himself stranded in a cabin with a prospector known as a Big Jim (Mack Swain) and a dangerous criminal (Tom Murray) who is on the run.

Later, he finds himself in the nearest town where he attempts to woo Georgia (Georgia Hale) but consistently misreads her signals.

Theatrical Poster
Source: Wikipedia
Yes, I know. It's a Blu-Ray box. It was cheaper than the DVD, OK? Also, I didn't break the rules. It's a dual play version, and I watched the DVD - on my Blu-Ray player. Because it is the Blu-Ray copy it came with the 1942 reworked edition where Chaplin had offered voiceovers, but I stuck with the 1925 version.

The Gold Rush is split into three distinct acts - The Tramp and Big Jim and their capers in the snow, The Tramp with Georgia, and finally The Tramp heading back out with Big Jim. As a result, this gives the film a very broken feel. This is something very uncommon in silent comedy which tends to rely on the ebb to keep the film flowing.

As the stakes in stunts had been increased in other contemporary films, Chaplin had decided that this was what was going to make the film successful and laid on a couple of impressive scenes. One sees a literal cliffhanger that, while it admittedly did use models, the scenery was impressive as it rocked from side to side.

The comedy has been slightly compromised, but there are still a number of hilarious scenes that Chaplin is renowned for. Keep an eye out for Chaplin's fork and bread dance which is just as skilled as it is funny. There are, however, a couple of moments where it feels like each scene is being milked slightly too far.

All in all though, a typically brilliant Chaplin classic.

1 comment:

  1. I had issues with continuity in this as well, but as you said, the stunt work and setpieces are great, and I like that we're seeing really early special effects in the cliffhanger sequence.

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