Charlie Chaplin Director Series: The Gold Rush

The Gold Rush is a Charlie Chaplin film about a prospector (the tramp) who travels up to Alaska to search for gold.  He experiences many dangers before eventually becoming rich and finding love.

The Gold Rush actually exists in two versions.  There is the original silent version and a version with Chaplin’s narration which was re-released after the advent of talkies.  I watched the version with voice over narration, though I did see excerpts of the original.

I was surprised at how well the slapstick holds up over time.  There are many classic scenes that I am certain Loony Toons stole at some point.  For example, there is a scene where the Tramp’s companion is so hungry that he imagines that the Tramp is a giant chicken.  I know I have seen that conceit in some later incarnations.

My favorite is the scene where the cabin is hanging over the edge of a cliff.  It’s not funny but it is surprisingly stressful.

This is not a perfect film.  For example, there is a moment early on where the Tramp is walking up the side of a mountain when a bear starts walking behind him.  This leads to… the bear taking another turn and the Tramp never notices the bear walking behind him.  What a waste.

This is one of my favorite scenes; the teetering cabin.  It’s surprisingly suspenseful.

Here is another famous scene.  Charlie Chaplin dances with rolls.


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