Charlie Chaplin’s The Gold Rush

I decided to look back on a historical hero of mine. That man is Charlie Chaplin. This is a report I wrote about his classic,  The Gold Rush.


charlie chaplin gold rush

The 1925 satire The Gold Rush is a work of art film. The film is adventurous, charming, and a western. Charlie Chaplin (director, writer and lead role) knew how to make his classics memorable. Since the viewer’s enjoyed of the dancing sequence in the film, projectionists replayed that scene for the viewers to add to the enjoyment of the film. If theaters did not replay that dance scene, it would not have been such a brilliant sensation. As usual, this Chaplin film grabbed my attention due to its quirky moments.

The Gold Rush is a comedy about a lone prospector (Chaplin) that takes a trip to Alaska in the search of Gold. The lone prospector is clumsy and light-hearted. In his journey he accidentally falls into a crowd with burly characters and falls in love with a girl named Georgia (played by Georgia Hale). Now in his journey he ends up trying to focus more on Georgia than the Gold.

            What stood out for me as funny in The Gold Rush was the shotgun scene. The lighting remains low, there is the lone prospector, two burly characters, and they are all in a cabin. The scene is a suspense scene but is made funny when the one burly character shoots his gun and then announces, “There is another bullet left, so beat it!” In this moment my attention was sparked. The lighting was set to low lighting for a few moments, and then as soon as the gun fired and smoke was up after the rifle was fired, it went right to high key lighting. That scene just had my full-on attention, I just kept wanting it to keep getting satirical. The fact that most movies involving guns are just in it for the violence, but with The Gold Rush it is for comic mischief.

Since the setting is in Alaska, the other visual aspect that caught my attention was the opening scene of the Chilkoot Pass walking in the freezing weather. The music has a serious tone and Chaplin captures a brilliant establishing shot of those that are part of the Chilkoot pass that are still striving to not give up. Than later that scene transitions right to the Chaplin’s character roaming like there is nothing wrong at all. However, there is a bear following him, but he is just so oblivious. He is just walking the bear is behind him but here is the hysterical part is the fact that the bear is oblivious also. This makes this scene entertaining because in most films with the setting of a bear, the bear would just attack its prey. Not in this movie, the clumsy Chaplin and clumsy bear are both so distracted that we just feel like we are watching two ordinary people on a regular hike.

What really intrigued me about The Gold Rush were all of the serious moments being die-hard laughing moments. I liked how when there was a storm, the people that were serious struggled or did not survive but Chaplin (the clumsy and not so smart one) does. That just made me think is the concept of him always getting lucky, or is he actually smart to be in these types of dangerous situations. I guess Chaplin did not want to take the risks of not having his movies be comedies. Especially with how he once said, “A day is wasted without laughter.”



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