THE GOLD RUSH

PrintE-mail Written by John Townsend

Originally produced in 1925, Charlie Chaplin “remastered” The Gold Rush in 1942 for re-release. One of the most successful silent films of all time, and a personal favourite of Chaplin himself, The Gold Rush in either form is the film that best showcases Chaplin’s amazing talents.

As The Lone Prospector, the film follows Chaplin through several intertwined adventures based around the Klondike Gold Rush in the frozen North of Alaska. Seeking his share of the gold, the hapless tramp stumbles from one awkward situation to the next before finding both his fortune and love.

As an example of Chaplin's art, and as a starting point for anyone approaching the little master's work for the first time, the 1925 version of The Gold Rush is very nearly the perfect film. In revisiting it for a 1942 release, Chaplin amazingly managed to improve it, adding the musical score which received an Academy Award nomination and also an entertaining and complimentary narration. Chaplin also shortened the film by several minutes, tightening up the editing and changing one or two scenes, most notably the ending, removing a kissing scene and replacing it with more platonic hand holding.

Several moments in the film have now passed into cinematic lore. A scene where Chaplin acts out a dance with two forks stuck in bread rolls is one of the actor’s most famous and has been referenced in several other films, including The Three Stooges Pardon My Scotch. The familiar “slapstick” chases and interactions are here, but rarely were they choreographed with such beautiful simplicity as in the scenes in the shack with Big Jim (Mack Swain) and Black Larsen (Tom Murray).

Interestingly, the production of The Gold Rush is almost as renowned as the film itself. Lita Grey first met Chaplin on the set of The Kid when she was only 12 years old. Three years later she was among a host of actresses testing for the part lead part in The Gold Rush, and was originally cast before falling pregnant by the then-35-year-old Chaplin and being replaced by Georgia Hale. During production, which lasted a year and a half, their rushed marriage (hastily arranged to avoid Chaplin being charged with having sexual relations with a minor) fell apart amidst reports of his affairs with other women.

Aside from any off screen notoriety though, The Gold Rush remains a seminal work, and consistently appears on any assembled list of the greatest movies of all time. Chaplin's effortless style, evident in his balletic performance, is arguably equalled in his other films, most notably City Lights and The Great Dictator, but is never better than it is in The Gold Rush. This 1942 release is also significant for being the last of Chaplin’s great films. With a career in decline, and his popularity fading, it provides a fitting footnote to perhaps the most influential artist of the 20th century.

If you have even a passing interest in cinema then viewing The Gold Rush is not just essential, it’s compulsory.

THE GOLD RUSH / CERT: PG / DIRECTOR & SCREENPLAY: CHARLIE CHAPLIN / STARRING: CHARLIE CHAPLIN, MACK SWAIN, TOM MURRAY, HENRY BERGMAN, GEORGIA HALE / RELEASE DATE: SEPTEMBER 14TH

 


Suggested Articles:
1931’s The Public Enemy is still at this stage one of the best gangster films ever made. James Cag
Mario Bava is one of the most important directors in genre cinema and if you haven't checked out any
As a franchise, the Power Rangers brand needs no introduction. But, whilst even casual fans are fami
Food Wars! Season 1 is proof that an over the top battle anime can be made out of anything, includin
scroll back to top

Add comment

Security code
Refresh

Other articles in DVD / Blu-ray Reviews

THE PUBLIC ENEMY 20 September 2017

KILL BABY KILL 19 September 2017

POWER RANGERS DINO CHARGE: RISE - VOLUME 4 19 September 2017

FOOD WARS! SEASON 1 17 September 2017

GUARDIANS 17 September 2017

THE DOCTORS: THE TOM BAKER YEARS 17 September 2017

GRANNY OF THE DEAD 16 September 2017

FIREFLY: COMPLETE SERIES – 15TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION 15 September 2017

ARROW: SEASON 5 15 September 2017

CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND - 40TH ANNIVERSARY 13 September 2017

- Entire Category -

Sign up today!
Banner
Banner
Banner
Banner
Banner
Banner