Thursday, June 16, 2011

The Gold Rush (1925)

Genre: Comedy
Starring: Charlie Chaplin, Mack Swain, Tom Murray, Georgia Hale
Directed by: Charlie Chaplin
Available for free (and legal) viewing at the Internet Archive

As I attempt to figure out how to write movie reviews and get this blog actually going, I thought for a while about what type of movie I should attempt to discuss first. One of my favorites seemed like a good choice, but it's always hard for me to articulate what I love about my favorite things, so that was out.

Yesterday, I decided to watch The Gold Rush, since I hadn't seen a silent film in a while and I'm slowly trying to see all of Charlie Chaplin's work, because I love what I've already seen. And I figured that since I watched it, there was no reason not to discuss it here.

In it, Chaplin, as his famous tramp character, ventures into the Yukon to take part in the Klondike Gold Rush. However, a storm occurs not long after his arrival, forcing him into the cabin of a fugitive, along with a prospector who has recently struck gold. He also meets a girl (of course), with whom he quickly falls in love (of course).

I have a love-hate relationship with silent films; I do like them, but they always take me twice as long to watch because of how easily distracted I am. I have to pause, get up, and do something else every so often because I do not really have the type of attention span they require, especially when I watch on the computer, where the rest of the internet is always tempting to ensnare me. However, I love that they demand my attention. When watching a sound film, I get just as distracted, because it's easy to look away and still follow along by listening instead of watching. However, with silent films, especially with a Chaplin film, there is a certain attention that's required, because if you look away, you might miss something, as I am sure happened to me during my viewing of this film.

However, although I'm sure there were a few things I missed, that doesn't take away from everything I did catch. There's a seemingly never-ending supply of gags throughout this movie; most of them involve misunderstandings and actions that don't go as planned, but no matter what they are caused by, they were always enough to make me crack a smile. Of course, there are the moments where the actions seem over-the-top, but I think that's a bit expected since they kind of have to be, as physical comedy is most of what can be transmitted through silent films. Plus, the unrealistic aspect of some of the events and effects are half the fun.

The Gold Rush, despite the fact that it took me far longer than its running time to get through, was a delightful, humorous movie, even though no words are spoken during it.

This is an obligatory addendum to say that movie reviews are hard, wah wah wah, and that I apologize for the lack of actual discussion about the film in this review. I'm learning, I'm learning.

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