Classic Movie Review: The Gold Rush (1925)

Title: The Gold Rush
Release Date: June 26, 1925
Director: Charlie Chaplin
Production Company: United Artists

The Little Tramp joins the Klondike Gold Rush, although his bowler cap and coat make him look like an English gentleman compared with the more rugged-looking prospectors he encounters.  The majority of the film is focused on a cabin where the Tramp and his colleagues escape from a blizzard.  The cabin belongs to Black Larsen (Tom Murray), identified as a wanted criminal, and the Tramp’s friend Big Jim (Mack Swain) also ends up occupying the cabin.  In fact, while Larsen is identified as a villain, the Tramp and Jim pretty much take advantage of him, and send him out to get food.

The comedy of the cabin involves wind blowing characters in one door and out the other, starvation dreams of a giant chicken, and eventually the cabin itself takes flight.  There’s also a romantic subplot where the Tramp meets with a self-confident dance hall girl (Georgia Hale) who dances with him to avoid unwanted attention from an aggressive man.  The Tramp falls in love and in one of the most famous scenes he imagines entertaining her with dancing dinner rolls.

It’s a clever comedy that makes the special effects and physical acting required of a silent film its strongest assets.

Rating: ***