Sunday, March 23, 2014

The Gold Rush review

Charlie Chaplin is one of the names synonymous with cinema itself.
Other people like that are John Wayne, Orson Welles, and Humphrey Bogart. People so deeply ingrained in the mythology of movies, that without them it seems as if film would cease to exist. They're the stars and directors of the "greatest" films ever made. People who embody the spirit and face of old Hollywood. They make what we consider to be classics. They were the Martin Scorseses and Al Pacinos of the past. Often, people seem to brush off classic movies as the kind of stuffy and obsolete garbage that snobby film professors drool over. What these people forget, is why these movies were deemed "classic" in the first place. They were entertaining, very well made, and they stood the test of time. Charlie Chaplin's 1925 picture, The Gold Rush, is one of these movies. It's listed on the AFI's Top 100 list and Sight & Sound's Top 250 films list. However, one should never judge how good a movie is by what others think of it. If a movie is heavily lauded by critics, there is a good chance it's a terrific film. But it's always important to form your own opinions on movies. The Gold Rush is one of those films that is just as good as its Rotten Tomatoes score (which is 100% if you were wondering). I spent the entirety of the movie with a big dumb grin on my face. I've only seen one other Charlie Chaplin film before, The Kid. It was quite good, but he's only improved with The Gold Rush. It's just as light and fun as it is genius and dramatic. Even though not one word of dialogue is spoken, I wasn't bored for a minute. The basic plot of The Gold Rush is Chaplin's classic character, The Little Tramp, takes to Alaska in the late 1800's to strike gold and get rich. In the process, he makes several friends and has some fun. In one particular scene, Chaplin sticks forks in two bread rolls and does a dance. It's classic scenes like that that keep you watching. A casual glance of any Charlie Chaplin film would make it seem like they're all sappy and light hearted. True, large chunks of the film are quite enjoyably light, but Chaplin knows how to create real drama and a character you really care about. The Tramp is comical and silly most of the time, but he's also very poor and lonely. He wears the same tattered clothing all the time and isn't so lucky with women. He dances around and makes many jokes, but he also has to go home and freeze and starve half to death in a shabby cabin that isn't even his. At one point in the movie, The Tramp must shovel for hours to make enough money to throw a New Years Eve dinner for some new friends. When the night finally comes, they all forget to show up. He's a sad character, but he's also always somewhat happy. And Chaplin never gives you a bitter and morose ending. That's the beauty of these films. They can be happy, sad, and exciting, but they always end making you feel warm and good. The Gold Rush reminds you of the magic of the movies, if you needed reminding. How they can make you feel, and just how damn good they really are. The Gold Rush is fun for all ages. Adults will  appreciate the character of The Tramp and his trials and troubles. The kids will love his funny slapstick. Everyone will enjoy the movie as a whole. If you can't understand why critics love these movies so much, watch one. Then you'll understand. Happy Viewing. If you haven't already, you should follow me on Twitter @WhitsMovies and like me on Facebook at!

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