• Gareth Crook

The Gold Rush (1925) - 7/10

I’m having a bit of a Chaplin season, this following on from The Kid. It makes sense to watch these films back to back. To slip a modern film in between would be a bit jarring and I’m enjoying having my cinematic sensibilities reset by Chaplin’s silent era vision. His appearance here is much quicker than in The Kid. He’s now a star. Here he’s The Lone Prospector, although to all intents and purposes he’s still The Tramp. He’s a character we’re designed to feel for, as he struggles in the snowy wilderness, looking for gold in the earth, shelter from the harsh winter weather and safety from the more suitably dressed outdoorsmen whom share the screen with him. It’s certainly dramatic with gunfights, the threat of starvation and Big Jim (Mack Swain) deliriously imagining that our hero is a giant tasty chicken. Daft as that sounds, it’s pretty violent really. That is until our hero prospector meets Georgia (Georgia Hale) at a dancehall in the new mining town and falls in love. Sadly Georgia isn’t as sweet and innocent as the doe eyed prospector. It doesn’t quite have the well rounded plot of The Kid, but it is still very good and it does have the famous bread roll dance. That now given its fame, seems almost incidental in the storyline. Despite being the downtrodden character, the prospector is the nicest man in the room and with any luck, soon to be the richest. Maybe it’s that The Kid set the bar so high, but this feels a bit lacking in comparison. There’s a whole subplot with the wanted Black Larsen (Tom Murray) that essentially gets forgotten about and as it nears its finale, everything feels a little rushed, like they’re running out of film. It’s still charming though. Next up: City Lights.

7/10