For Reel

The Gold Rush (1925)
January 9, 2012, 7:28 am
Filed under: Reviews | Tags: , ,

Director: Charles Chaplin

Note: The star rating is for the 1942 version.

In 1942, Charles Chaplin re-released his 1925 feature, The Gold Rush, with added narration, a new score, and a few cuts. The resulting picture is not nearly as good as the original. Chaplin’s added narration adds little and often works to the film’s detriment. Much of the humor of silent gags is in what is unspoken – by hearing just what a frustrated character is saying when dealing with the tramp, many of the biggest laughs are eliminated. Additionally, in cutting the kiss from the end of the picture (in 1925, Georgia Hale and Chaplin were a couple, and, by the time of the re-release, they had split and the kiss was cut significantly), it takes away from the tramp’s ultimate redemption, ridding the picture of a fully satisfying conclusion to what is otherwise one of his greatest romances. Nonetheless, The Gold Rush is among Chaplin’s most likable pictures, and perhaps only City Lights has moments as heartbreaking as the tramp feeling as though he’s been abandoned on New Years Eve. Additionally, the sense of scale is much more significant than in many of his pictures  – the relatively exotic locale and the use of miniatures distances the feature aesthetically from the rest of his oeuvre.

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