The Gold Rush marked Chaplin’s first Charlie Chaplin film to be released by his own company, United Artists, and was his most ambitious project to date (1925). And it remained one of his personal favorites. He went so far as to recut, score and narrate a reissue version in 1942.
Today, it battles City Lights and Modern Times for the position of the best of all Chaplin comedies — and where it ranks among those is largely a matter of personal taste. This comedy of the frozen north is not without its sentimental or “important” side — traits of Chaplin not loved by everyone — but it’s certainly less sentimental than City Lights and less preachy than Modern Times. For that matter, it’s far less sentimental than his previous starring film, The Kid.
The sentiment in Gold Rush is mostly confined to the Tramp’s seemingly hopeless love for dance hall girl Georgia (Georgia Hale) and is most pronounced in the scene where he stages a New Year’s Eve party for her — to which she doesn’t come. It’s hard to imagine anyone objecting to this scene, no matter how flint-hearted.
The film is mostly a brilliantly executed comedy that places Charlie’s Tramp in the most unlikely of surroundings — as a prospector in the Klondike. The passage of 80 years has not dimmed its humor, or Chaplin’s creativity. A must-see for film lovers. Not rated.
— reviewed by Ken Hanke
[The Hendersonville Film Society will show The Gold Rush on Sunday, October 2 at 2 p.m., in the Smoky Mountain Theater at Lake Pointe Landing Retirement Community, 333 Thompson St., Hendersonville. (From Asheville, take I-26 to U.S. 64 West, turn right at the third light onto Thompson St. Follow to Lake Point Landing entrance and park in lot at left.)]