DVD Review – The Gold Rush (1925)

The Gold Rush is the story of prospectors in the search for gold in the midst the snowy mountains. One of the prospectors is in the form of the little tramp (Charlie Chaplin), when a blizzard strikes the mountain, the young tramp takes shelter in an old empty cabin on the mountain.

The cabin belongs to Black Larsen (Tom Murray), a fugitive hiding from the law. He attempts to force the young prospector out but he’s subdued when a large prospect by the name Big Jim (Mark Swain) appears and he took looks for shelter from the blizzard.

That’s the first act of The Gold Rush, I don’t want to ramble on about each scene of this excellent little film, I can only wholehearted suggest that everyone should see this! The other acts of the film do show the young tramp develop a love interest, both Big Jim and Black Larsen also reappear throughout the film.

The film is deemed a classic with many famous scenes for example; Chaplin’s day dreaming of his proposed New Year ’s Eve party where he entertains his guests by grabbing two forks and making the rolls dance. I’m particularly fond of the gag where the tramp is standing up to man bullying Georgia, the bully pulls the hat down over the tramps eyes. In response he tries to clock the bully, but accidentally hits the wooden support beam. Whilst everyone is laughing, the clock on the beam falls and strikes the bully! It plays out perfectly.

Another wonderful feature to this film is the narrator! The narration was written and performed by Charlie Chaplin! It’s amazing to think about all the talent he has and he’s got such a powerful voice to his small frame.

I’m just gushing at this point, The Gold Rush is one of my favourite films from Chaplin – it’s something I can watch endlessly.

DVD Special Features

We’re given a twenty five minute feature on the impacts that the Gold Rush has left on the film business. We see footage of a film crew working back in 2002 and the director spoke of Chaplins influences on his work. We’re shown images from begin the scenes, famous photos of Charlie dressing up as the giant chicken and photos of the model cabin hanging from the mountain edge. We’re also given brief interview snippets from Rita Grey and Georgia Hale talking of their experiences working with him.

In the Introduction by David Robinson we’re essentially given a condensed version of the Chaplin Today feature highlighting the same facts and trivia points, but packed into a five minute video package.

The special features are also fleshed out with a few video montage pieces. There’s a feature which is showing highlights from all of the films released in the Curzon Chaplin collection and another titled Chaplin ABC. The Chaplin ABC is a thirty minute highlight reel of Chaplin clips organised around subjects alphabetised. Examples; A is for Animals etc. So que all the hilarious moments of Chaplin working with Animals etc. It’s a creative way to fill the disc, especially with the original source martial coming up for ninety years old.

The Gold Rush also comes with the Charlie Chaplin short silent film; The Visitor. The short is one for thirteen minutes, it almost looks like a home movie of Charlie showing friends around his estate. Dressing up as the tramp and doing his walk, everyone waving to the camera towards the end of each shot – very bizarre. Half way through though it turns into the tramp working behind the desk at a hotel. The clip doesn’t have any written subtitle cues or any music playing in the background – it’s very polarising.

Overall it’s a great film and a health amount of Special features – it’s easily;