Thursday, 14 March 2013

The Gold Rush


THE GOLD RUSH (BLACK AND WHITE, 1925)

Director
Charles Spencer Chaplin (Better known as Charlie Chaplin)

Cast
Charlie Chaplin, Georgia Hale, Tom Murray, Mack Swain, Malcolm Waite and Henry Bergman

Ages
4 and up

Plot:
A lone prospector, aka little fellow, (Chaplin) is in 1898’s Klondike gold rush searching for gold. One of the fellow prospectors, Big Jim McKay (Swain) finds a gold mountain, but soon loses it. The two soon meet in the house of another lonely prospector, Black Larsen (Murray). The three of them try to live together, but fail due to a lack of food. The little fellow moves on to another civilized town, where he falls in love with Georgia (Hale), a dance hall girl, romanced by ladies’ man Jack Cameron (Waite). When the little fellow reunites with Jim and together they find the treasure, the little fellow goes on to search for Georgia. Luckily, fate brings them back together.

Charlie Chaplin was so famished he cooked his shoe to eat.

Why it’s good
Because it is an easy-to-take romance from Charles Spencer Chaplin, better known as Charlie Chaplin. Being an expert showman, this was his most child-friendly film.

Chaplin plays the Lone Prospector, probably one of the greatest Hollywood roles. He is really a funny man, but you have to think deeply into his character which brings out a sensitive personality. Chaplin’s films are all like that.

This one has the lightest of Chaplin’s persona, unlike a fallen star in Limelight (1952) or a Jewish barber in a Nazi-like country as in The Great Dictator (1940). He is a prospector and that cannot be a heavy role to play. The role is light enough that young toddlers like my youngest sister could enjoy, such as eating shoes and being followed by a lion.

Oh, I almost forgot something. This is a technical specification. You have to, if your kid is new to old movies, go to the sound version. The sound version had narration by Chaplin in place of title cards. That version would probably be the preferred alternative. It can be found on the Charlie Chaplin collection DVDs. But if you turn to the sound version, what is the point of calling this a silent movie??

Parent’s guide
Nothing. The shoe eating part is disgusting, but it is not mentioned it is a shoe. There is no kissing between the two leads. 

Trivia
The scenes of the prospectors walking down the hill were actually vagrants from the Klondike gold rush hired for one day’s pay.

If you like this…
The rest of the Chaplin films are all here in the silent film chapter, if not for films like "The Great Dictator" (1940) and "Mousier Verdoux" (1947).         

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