The Gold Rush ★★★★

The film that Charlie Chaplin wanted himself to be remembered for may not be the film for which he's actually remembered today but that doesn't mean The Gold Rush is any lesser work of quality from the legendary auteur. It only means that Chaplin later went on to surpass the very standards he set for himself with this silent classic.

The Gold Rush tells the story of a lone prospector who ventures into Alaska looking for gold but ends up finding more than what he asked for. On his journey, he meets many interesting people, gets caught in a blizzard, almost starves to death & also comes across a very beautiful woman whose heart he tries to win with his charm.

Written, produced, directed, edited & composed by Charlie Chaplin, there are two versions of this film in existence but I prefer the silent one for the voiceover in the 1942 re-issue felt very intrusive to me. As for the film, it's an influential example of its genre & contains many moments that are now counted amongst the most memorable segments of silent cinema.

Chaplin's ability to seamlessly infuse slapstick humour into drama continues to impress but the latter part doesn't carry enough weight in my opinion. The funny gags, however, are plenty & each one of them manages to leave its mark. And while Chaplin's work behind the camera is admirable, his performance in the starring role is even more infectious & impressive.

On an overall scale, The Gold Rush isn't Charlie Chaplin's magnum opus, at least not in my eyes, but it remains an essential classic of its era that has continued to inspire countless films of its genre ever since. It's worth a shot for that "dancing rolls" sequence alone which is quite possibly Chaplin's single greatest on-screen moment plus the heavy dose of fun, entertainment & laughter it has in store promises an experience you hopefully won't regret.

P.S. Choose the 1925 silent version over the 1942 re-issue! The latter, however, can be viewed as The Gold Rush with director's commentary.