The Gold Rush (1925 – DVD)

“The picture that I want to be remembered by”

This is part two of my Charlie Chaplin box set indulgence after his first feature ‘The Kid’. This is his third and perhaps most warmly regarded silent 1925’s ‘The Gold Rush’.  The Tramp or ‘The Little Fellow’ as Chaplin calls him in the narration, is a prospector in the bleak winter of the Klondike gold rush. It’s very much like ‘The Kid’ in tone with the same perfect blend of inventive visual gags and heartbreak. Only this time the gags are on a whole new daring level of sophistication.

The amount of humour he squeezes into one three walled shack is astounding. The setup where the hungry character cooks and eats his boiled boots as if he were a gourmet is rightly famous. What I wasn’t expecting was how powerful the romantic plot still is. The bit where The Little Fellow has saved all his money for a New Years dinner with the sophisticated Girl he has worshipped from afar, only for her to stand him up is heartbreaking. Especially when Chaplin has a close up of him looking mournfully out of his door into the cold darkness and hearing the faint sound of ‘Auld Lang Syne’ from the rest of the happy townsfolk… it almost had me blubbing.

Next I’m gonna skip forward a few films and try one of Chaplin’s later talkies.


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