A lone prospector ventures into Alaska looking for gold. He gets mixed up with some burly characters and falls in love with the beautiful Georgia. He tries to win her heart with his singular charm. Written by
John J. Magee <email@example.com>
When shot silent, the film would utilize the entire image area available measuring 1.33:1. When reissued in 1942 with sound the sound strip was overlaid over the left part of the film, and the top and bottom were cropped as well to maintain the 1.37:1 academy ratio resulting in sometimes awkward image composition. This can be seen on the Warner DVD releases of the reissue, while the previous Image entertainment disc was mastered from the full silent aperture negative and does not contain the cropping. See more »
In the 1942 sound version, Tom Murray's character is spelled Black Larsen on the "Wanted" ad, but Black Larson in the end credits. See more »
The Gold Rush is one of Chaplin's best films, as well as one of his most famous. It has been said that it is the film that he most wanted to be remembered by, and it's not hard to see why. Chaplin plays the part of the lone prospector, a young miner during the gold rush. After getting caught in a storm, he hurries to the only shelter that he can find, a wood cabin in the middle of the storm. It turns out that it is already inhabited, and by a tough criminal named Black Larson, no less, and the scene in which Charlie and Big Jim, another prospector, insist to Black Larson that they are going to stay is one of the countless memorable scenes in the film.
Charlie and Big Jim are left alone and without food when Larson goes off to face the storm looking for food (having drawn the lowest card in another amusing scene), and the scenes in the cabin are some of the best in the entire film. There is, of course, the boot eating scene, memorable not only because of its cleverness and effectiveness, but also because while making the film, Chaplin ate so much boot (which was made out of licorice) before he was satisfied with the take that he had to be taken to the hospital to have his stomach pumped. Another thing that was really well done was the special effects. I am still amazed every time I watch the film at how realistic it looks when there is a long shot from outside showing Charlie hanging from the door of the cabin, which is balanced precariously on the edge of a cliff. Also notice the fast paced and very effective music during this scene, the same song that is played in the best scene of the 1996 film Shine, with Geoffrey Rush.
There is also a very noteworthy love element of The Gold Rush, a part of the story that Chaplin generally has much success with in his films. Charlie's amorous interests in Georgia, a dance hall girl, leads to the scene where he performs the famous dance of the dinner rolls, probably the most famous scene in the film, which was also performed very well by Johnny Depp in Benny & Joon. Charlie's relationship with Georgia is also the thing that leads to his presentation of his sympathy for the lower classes, when he meets her on the ship after having become a multi-millionaire. Chaplin's full length films are inherently more famous than his earlier short comedies, and The Gold Rush is one of the best of his full length features. A must see for any Chaplin fan, but The Gold Rush is also a film that anyone who is interested in quality comedy should watch.
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