[Happy 90th Birthday!] The Gold Rush (1925)

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Director: Charles Chaplin

Cast: Charles Chaplin, Mark Swain, Tom Murray

Screenplay: Charles Chaplin

95 mins. Not Rated.

  • Academy Award Nominee: Best Sound, Recording (1942 reissue)
  • Academy Award Nominee: Best Music, Scoring of a Dramatic or Comedy Picture (1942 reissue)

iMDB Top 250: #131 (as of 6/25/2015)

 

Charlie Chaplin (Modern Times, The Great Dictator) was once asked about his career and what he was most proud of. He answered back that the film he wanted to be most remembered for was The Gold Rush, a 1925 silent film featuring Chaplin in his Tramp persona as The Lone Prospector, a man looking for his fortune in the Yukon. Along the way, he is confronted by two others looking to stake his claim for the gold, Big Jim McKay (Mark Swain, Pay Day, Tillie’s Punctured Romance) and Black Larsen (Tom Murray, The Pilgrim, Tramp, Tramp, Tramp). His adventure is further complicated by a beautiful woman named Georgia.

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This is a masterpiece, whether you see the 1925 silent version or the 1942 reissue. I happen to prefer the 1942 version as it has aged better. Chaplin narrates the reissue of the film and it works pretty well. The added musical score is great as well.

But all that wouldn’t mean much without the perfect quadruple threat that is Charlie Chaplin. His directing is great, his performance is without doubt great, his writing is well-put, and the film shows how terrific his abilities are.

The film’s best sequences involve his interactions with the other prospectors, specifically when Jim and Larsen are wrestling for a gun while Chaplin’s character attempts to avoid being in the crosshairs. That isn’t to say that his scenes with Georgia aren’t fantastic. The iconic dinner roll sequence is still absolutely goofy and lovable and encompasses everything that made Chaplin one of the most important players in early cinema.

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The Gold Rush is a perfect film. Charlie Chaplin’s filmmaking techniques utilized every element in the right way to create an absolute masterpiece that has withstood time. If you have a problem with Black & White Silent films, get over it and see this movie. Now.

 

5/5

-Kyle A. Goethe

 

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