Pure Gold--A Look at the Historical Effects of The Gold Rush

         Charlie Chaplin is the Lone Prospector who goes to Klondike, Alaska in search of gold. There he meets and falls in love with beautiful Georgia (Georgia Hale). In cold and snowy Alaska he rambles forward looking for gold with his fellow prospector Big Jim McKay (Mack Swain) thinking of her. A genius called Charlie Chaplin made in 1925 this silent movie masterpiece known as The Gold Rush.

         Now nearly eighty years after the film was made we get to watch this genius in a tramp suit doing his job. And he did it well—better than probably anybody. He could make us laugh, and he could make us cry—maybe even both of those at the same time. Chaplin realized that every good comedy has a little tragedy. Of course, credit has to be given to other actors as well. Mack Swain as Big Jim McKay is not only a big man; he is also big at his acting skills. Georgia Hale is as beautiful of woman as she is a great actress. The Gold Rush is filled with marvelous scenes. The most memorable is the shoe-eating scene. Chaplin on the dance floor is also something to remember. Through the movie I can hear the score Chaplin composed to this movie. It works perfectly--just like the whole movie. It is pure gold from the beginning till the end.

         There is no doubt that Chaplin was a genius and that he has had a major impact on the past, present and future of comedy. One great example would be Rowan Atkinson’s role as Mr. Bean. Originally, Mr. Bean was a British comedy television show where a regular man got put into extra-ordinary circumstances like having to baby-sit a toddler at a fair. Murphy’s law never fails come into effect. Everything that can happen will happen. Atkinson makes the worst and most disastrous situations hilarious. His physical comedy is one that mimics Chaplin to a ‘T’. Mr. Bean is also brilliant due to the fact that the character never speaks. Other people might occasionally say things to him, trying to help him out or ask him what in the world he is doing.

         Chosen in 1998 by the American Film Institute as one of the top 100 American films, and quoted by Chaplin as "The picture I want to be remembered by," this comedy gem, The Gold Rush, features some of his funniest scenes, including his eating his boot.

Derek Owen

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