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Gold Rush

The Gold Rush

5.0 3

Cast: Charles Chaplin, Georgia Hale, Mack Swain, Tom Murray


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He may be called "The Lone Prospector" in The Gold Rush, but the character played by Charlie Chaplin is the same wistful, resourceful Little Tramp that had been entertaining the world and its brother since 1914. A most unlikely participant in the 1898 Yukon gold rush, Charlie finds himself sharing a remote cabin with two much larger and more menacing-looking


He may be called "The Lone Prospector" in The Gold Rush, but the character played by Charlie Chaplin is the same wistful, resourceful Little Tramp that had been entertaining the world and its brother since 1914. A most unlikely participant in the 1898 Yukon gold rush, Charlie finds himself sharing a remote cabin with two much larger and more menacing-looking prospectors: Big Jim McKay (Mack Swain) and Black Larsen (Tom Murray). Big Jim isn't really a bad sort, but Larsen is a murderer and thief. When the food supply runs out, Larsen heads out in the snowy wastes to hunt, leaving Charlie to prepare a delicious Thanksgiving dinner for Big Jim, consisting of roasted shoe. The days pass: in a delirium, Big Jim imagines that Charlie is a huge chicken, and voraciously takes after him with an axe; Charlie saves himself by inadvertently shooting a bear, thereby providing enough food for ten men (Chaplin's inspiration for this episode was the cannibalistic activities of the Donner Party). When the winds subside, Charlie and Big Jim part company. Charlie heads off to seek his fortune in a nearby gold-rush community, while Big Jim lucks upon a "mountain of gold" -- just before he is ambushed and knocked unconscious by Black Larsen. Larsen himself is then killed by an avalanche, leaving Big Jim to wander aimlessly, his memory gone. Meanwhile, Charlie has fallen in love, from afar, with self-reliant saloon girl Georgia (Georgia Hale) who doesn't know that he exists. By a fluke, Charlie and Georgia meet, whereupon Charlie invites the girl to New Year's Eve dinner in the cabin that he is tending for a local prospector. While preparing for dinner, Charlie imagines that Georgia has arrived with her friends; he entertains the girls by jabbing two forks in two rolls, then performing a captivating little "dance" with the pastries. Awakening from his dream, Charlie disconsolately realizes that Georgia has forgotten all about his little party, and isn't going to show up. The next day, Big Jim arrives in town and is shaken out of his amnesia when he spots Charlie. Hoping that the little prospector will help him find his mountain of gold, Big Jim heads back to the mountains with Charlie in tow. The two men nearly come to grief when their cabin, blown by the wind to a mountain precipice, leans precariously over the edge--a peril intensified when Charlie, clinging to the floor, develops a sudden case of hiccups! Luck of luck, the cabin slides safely down the side of the mountain, landing directly upon Big Jim's gold strike. Now fabulously wealthy, Charlie and Big Jim head back to the States on a freighter. Also on board is Georgia, who is unaware that Charlie has struck it rich and thinks that he's a stowaway. She offers to hide him from the authorities, and it is at this point that Charlie and Georgia discover that they're truly in love with one another. The Gold Rush was the longest (it ran nine reels, cut down from its ten-reel preview length) and most elaborately produced of Chaplin's silent comedies (it took him fourteen months to complete). Even so, critics of the era chastised Chaplin for permitting the Little Tramp to win the girl at the end, arguing that the character's "integrity" was damaged by so happy an ending. Evidently, Chaplin took this criticism to heart: in his 1942 reissue of The Gold Rush, for which he wrote a narration and musical score, Chaplin removed the final embrace between the Lone Prospector and Georgia, fading out on a wealthy -- but still unattached -- Charlie strolling about the deck.

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Ed Hulse
Not only a milestone in screen comedy but also a masterpiece of silent-era filmmaking, The Gold Rush is considered by some critics and aficionados to be the best of Charlie Chaplin’s feature-length movies. Ranking alongside City Lights and Modern Times, this 1925 triumph represents quite a departure for Chaplin’s beloved Little Tramp character, who heretofore had been seen in modern-day settings. The Gold Rush transports him back to the Klondike at the turn of the century, when gold fever attracted prospectors by the thousands to a bleak, inhospitable land. The Tramp, easily smitten, falls in love with a dance-hall girl (Georgia Hale) who initially rejects him in favor of more prosperous suitors. Chaplin’s favorite foil, Mack Swain, cheerfully chews up the scenery as a burly prospector whom the Tramp invariably exasperates. The comic highlights include Chaplin’s inspired use of dinner rolls, which he makes appear to be dancing "the Lambeth Walk," and an iconic sequence in which, starving, he cooks and eats a leather shoe. Another, which finds the Tramp inside a rickety cabin teetering on the edge of a cliff, was so effective that it was copied several times by comedians in later films. Available for many years in slightly truncated form, The Gold Rush has recently been restored to its original glory and looks better on this DVD than in any of its previous home-video incarnations.
All Movie Guide - Lucia Bozzola
The film he said he wanted to be remembered by, Charles Chaplin's masterwork seamlessly combined humor and tragedy as his refined and compassionate little tramp struggled to strike gold in 1898 Alaska. Chaplin's gift for sight gags and intricate mime is most memorably displayed as he feasts on a boiled boot sole, twirling the laces like spaghetti and sucking on the nails as if they were a gourmet delicacy. Even as Chaplin makes comedy out of starvation and struggle, he reveals the dehumanizing effects of greed as it impinges on the capacity to love. Over a year in production and filmed partly on location near Lake Tahoe to recreate the look of photos of Yukon prospectors, The Gold Rush became Chaplin's first hit for his United Artists studio, reaffirming his superstar status after a directorial detour through drama in A Woman of Paris (1923). The reedited 1942 reissue included music and new narration by Chaplin. The Gold Rush has often been paired with Buster Keaton's The General (1927) as the two greatest silent comedies.

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Special Features

New Audio Commentary for the 1925 version by Chaplin biographer Jeffrey Vance; Three new programs: Presenting "The Gold Rush," which traces the film's history and features filmmaker Kevin Brownlow and Vance; A Time of Innovation: Visual Effects in "The Gold Rush," featuring effects specialist Craig Barron and Chaplin Cinematographer Roland Totheroh; and Music by Charles Chaplin, featuring Conductor and Composer Timothy Brock; Chaplin Today: "The Gold Rush" (2002), a short documentary featuring filmmaker Idrissa Quédraogo; Four Trailers; ; Plus: An Essay by critic Luc Sante and James Agee's review of the 1942 rerelease

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Charles Chaplin The Lone Prospector
Georgia Hale Georgia
Mack Swain Big Jim McKay
Tom Murray Black Larson
Henry Bergman Hank Curtis
Malcolm Waite Jack Cameron
Betty Morrissey Georgia's friend
Jack Adams Actor
Sam Allen Actor
Harry Arras Actor
Albert Austin Prospector
William Bell Actor
William Bradford Actor
George Brock [uncredited]
William Butler Actor
Cecile Cameron Actor
Leland Carr Actor
Kay Desleys Georgia's Friend
J.C. Fowler Actor
Allan Garcia Prospector
Inez Gomez Actor
Ben R. Hart Actor
Jack Herrick Actor
George Holt Actor
Harry Jones Actor
John King Actor
Geraldine Leslie Actor
Joan Lowell Georgia's Friend
Chris-Pin Martin uncredited
Margaret Martin Squaw
John McGrath Actor
John Millerta Actor
Barbara Pierce Manicurist
Betty Pierce Actor
John Rand Prospector
Frank Rice Actor
Jane Sherman Actor
Joe "Fox" Smith Actor
John Tully Actor
John Wallace Actor
Tom Wood Prospector

Technical Credits
Charles Chaplin Director,Score Composer,Editor,Producer,Screenwriter
Charles Hall Art Director
Roland H. "Rollie" Totheroh Cinematographer
Jack Wilson Cinematographer


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The Gold Rush 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
By far Chaplin's funniest film, in my opinion. Also his best. Everyone must see it. The scenes with the boot eating, the dance of the dinner rolls, and when the cabin falls off the cliff are some of the funniest things I have ever seen.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Operafan48 More than 1 year ago
To the current general moviegoing public at large, silent films are a thing of the past or even a form of art and entertainment that never existed at all. The Criterion Bluray/DVD editions of "The Gold Rush" make very clear that silent films were not only viable forms of entertainment but could often be great works of art in their own right. Charlie Chaplin's "The Gold Rush" most definitely meets the criteria for greatness with its ingenious combination of comedy, thrills and pathos. Here is a movie for everybody ; a movie that has everything to offer the viewer as entertainment. Chaplin's iconic "Little Tramp" reaches the summit of characterization in this epic tale of prospectors looking for gold in the  late 19th century Yukon. The film's classic scenes are almost too numerous to mention and the romantic longing of the tramp for the dance hall hostess (the lovely Georgia Brown) is sometimes forgotten amidst the often uproarious comedy, all of it directed with utmost brilliance by Charles Chaplin, one of the supreme artists of 20th Century Cinema, a man who ranks with best of them, including Griffith, Welles and Ford. The Criterion edition showcases the original silent version (in my opinion the true masterwork, not the 1942 re-edited sound version that Chaplin declared was his authentic director's cut, which included annoying sound narration and truncated much of the touching romantic aspects of the film.