The Influence of Past on Future

        Charlie Chaplin's Gold Rush was a film that set framework for many other films/cartoons of the common day variety. This film was the first comedic film and vocal narration that we have viewed. Giving the audience vocal narration and no longer relying upon subtitles allowed Chaplin to have a longer film. The reason he had a longer film was because he did not always have to put in subtitles (taking time away from the movie) for the audience to understand the film. This movie also had its own special effects that set it apart from other films. These effects included a house that moved up and down according to the wind blowing or if the house was on the edge of a cliff. The other special effects included Chaplin and his co-actor (Big Jim) hanging from the door knob of the house as it tipped precariously on the cliff edge. The "effect" in this sense was getting puppet sized versions of the actors that they used in addition to the model house they have built to look real.

        The entirety of this film was a comedy and the different portions that Chaplin edited together allowed it to be a distinctive film. One certain section I particularly enjoyed was when Chaplin and Big Jim were cooking a boot for thanksgiving. Chaplin carved the boot like a turkey. Chaplin ate the laces as though he were eating spaghetti. He even ate the nails out of the boot like they were chicken wings. Best of all Chaplin performed all of these ridiculous acts with his key signature; a straight face. The hilarity of these scenes came from Chaplin never cracking a smile.

         Other than this film being a comedy (something new for the film industry at this point in time) it obviously inspired many other directors. The reason I say this is because aspects from this film can be found in other films and/or cartoons. When Chaplin is being chased by Big Jim (and vice versa) he stalks through the house as Big Jim follows. Neither actor is actually in viewing range of the other yet they still keep stalking one another. The stalking of the other character in this scene reminded me of Wil E. Coyote and the Roadrunner. In almost all Wil E. Coyote and Roadrunner cartoons the coyote typically stalks the Roadrunner while the Roadrunner is walking right behind him.

        The other aspects of the film that I notice in films today are the girlie fights and the typical love story. The girlie fights that we see in films today are usually girls in their underwear at a slumber party having a pillow fight. In this film we see girls in the snow having a girlie snowball fight. This aspect of the film may not have been the best to pass on to future movies but nonetheless it displays the inspiration of future directors from those in the past. The typical love story that is always viewed is as follows:

1. Unpopular boy meets popular girl.

2. Boy falls in love with girl.

3. Girl doesn't know and later finds out without boy knowing she knows.

4. Girl makes a joke out of it with her friends.

5. Girl makes fake date plans to humiliate unpopular boy.

6. Girl does not show up and hangs out with her popular boyfriend.

7. Girl feels bad.

8. Girl later falls in love with boy.

        This story also works in the reverse situation where an unpopular girl meets a popular boy, but you get the picture. It is just interesting for me to see how these films of the past influence the films of the present.

Rebecca Cripps

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