The Gold Rush

The Gold Rush is a 1925 silent comedy by Charlie Chaplin. The eternal question for many Chaplin fans is, is The Gold Rush better than City Lights? There are some who would argue for Modern Times or maybe even The Great Dictator. There are even a few who like Monsieur Verdoux. But to say this film is better than City Lights is definitely inviting controversy. As a statement on social mores and values City Lights is far more indicting. As an important piece of film City Lights shows us many things that had never been done before and perhaps may never be done again on the big screen. But as a sheer enjoyable romp in The Little Tramp’s world is where City Lights falls short. It is buried in social commentary whereas the Gold Rush has some social issues to deal with. To my belief Gold Rush is the best of Chaplin’s works and I will watch it over City Light just for the sheer joy of seeing the artist in his prime. I will justify my point with four unbelievably brilliant scenes from this film-
  1. The one in which he dines on an old shoe. Chaplin’s exquisite grace, turned the boiled shoe into a gourmet feast: he carves it carefully, smacks his lips in anticipation, and then eats it with gusto and appreciation, sucking the nails as if they contained the most juices and twirling the laces around his fork as if they were spaghetti.
  2. The one where Big Jim McKay and Charles struggle to get out of their cabin teetering on the edge of a cliff. Its funny? Oh yes! But the underlying camerawork is unmatched. Oscillating the camera and moving the characters accordingly, and the way the final scene is shot when Charles jumps off the cabin the moment it falls down 🙂 This film was shot in 1925
  3. The scene where Charles shows a dance to his imaginary dinner guests using two bread rolls stabbed with forks. They look perfectly like the boots he wears. Perfect!
  4. The scene where Chaplin goes to a great deal of effort to prepare a New Year’s dinner and is stood up by his date, spending his New Year’s alone. This scene is almost unbearably sad, thankfully it is surrounded by scene after scene that had me giggling.

What a delightful film! I can see the imagination bursting on the screen in riches. Each scene contains surprises and bits of magic. This masterpiece is not just a comedy but an adventure in its best form. There are parts that make me laugh just thinking about them, like the eating shoe scene, fighting over rifle while Chaplin tries to hide from gun, and when the cabin is tipping over the cliff scene. When Chaplin finds Georgia the film unveils some truly touching dramatic moments. I genuinely felt for him. Chaplin is a auteur who can make me laugh and cry at the same time. Brilliant!

10/10


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One response to “The Gold Rush

  1. Its one of my favourite chaplin movie.

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