Day Five: The Gold Rush (1925) (MotM 2021)

Going to be a quick piece today. The proceedings of the day did not develop a write-happy boy.

Anyone who’s read my blog during past March of the Movies blocks knows that I tend to prefer a “modern” film. Hell, I spoke of this at length during a film earlier this month. Per my own words (written or verbal, I do not recall), my general cutoff date for “I will take this film seriously” is the ’60s, which is some arbitrary thing I made up because of The Graduate (for some reason).

Lately, though, I’ve softened somewhat on my previous outlook—though some sliver of cynicism remains. One notable example is my fascination with silent film, and I’ve found myself fascinated with two specific figures: Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton. Each employ a specific style to their films, though both reserve a tenderness to the purity of their characters that are charming even today. On the topic of today, the film for review is the third Chaplin feature-length film I’ve viewed: The Gold Rush.

Some warm promises in the dark.

In short, it’s pretty appealing. Some things to the plot are fairly odd, such as the female love interest’s affection for a man who sexually harasses her, but I suppose showcasing a woman in the 1920s as anything other than a prize for the lead would be expecting too much. Anyway, it’s pretty appealing.

Given my relative inexperience with silent cinema, it’s not clear to me whether Chaplin is a revolutionary in terms of bizarre story settings. Ignoring this, The Gold Rush is pretty all over the place in terms of what occurs and where. Blizzard-like snow storms; a merry dance hall; a murderer’s cabin; a late-night dinner fantasy. The pacing is almost lightning quick, going from one scene to another, jampacked with visual humor and “The Tramp,” as he’s been famously dubbed, getting into a bunch of silly (and dangerous) situations.

This is Jack. He’s not too nice.

For a film title like “The Gold Rush,” there’s not much concerning the activity or event. Sure, it starts with it and ends with it, but then there’s a big snippet in the middle where it’s just a quirky love story between The Tramp and ~Georgia~ (the flourish is added constantly). Feels a little odd, and a little aimless. Nevertheless, it’s wrapped up amicably enough… if you don’t think about it much…

From what I’ve seen from Chaplin, it’s among his better works. From silent cinema in general, also among the better works. The gags got a few chuckles out of me and Chaplin’s eccentricity is certainly entertaining enough. The addition of other characters—particularly the big bearded fellow—added some fun duo gags, too. It’s not a revolutionary piece that’ll make you rethink silent cinema; just a very solid addition to a long list of Chaplin’s historical significance to Hollywood. I enjoyed it well enough.

Final Score: 7/10

The rating for all other films can be found at Letterboxd.

For more, check out the March of the Movies Archive!

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