Thursday, January 19, 2012

The Gold Rush - Chaplin, 1925

I haven’t seen enough of Charlie Chaplin's movies to really claim I have a favorite--until last year, I’d only seen The Great Dictator--but on a lark, I watched The Gold Rush sometime last summer while in the middle of writing a review for Horrible Bosses

My feeling then was that while The Gold Rush wasn’t a laugh a minute, the laughs that are there are genuine and earned (can’t say the same for the movie I compared it to, though).

I’ve only come to enjoy it more since catching a 35mm screening of it at The Texas Theatre. For one thing, there was the simple joy of seeing an iconic figure like Chaplin on the big screen. Projected large in the dark, his shlumpy, bowler hat-wearing, penguin-waddling misfit felt almost mythic. I also had a greater appreciation, by the movie's end, for The Gold Rush as a drama instead of a comedy, which is closer to what it's identified as in the opening credits--a comedy-drama.
A number of moments reverberate with a stirring sense of pathos, especially in those cabin scenes between The Tramp and Georgia (Georgia Hale), moments that were heightened by hearing Chaplin’s own score for the film in a newly orchestrated form. Compared to this version, the one I'd heard on Netflix was like something performed with a keyboard. But here the soundtrack included a full orchestra and the results were as gorgeous and pristine as the 35mm print itself.

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