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The Gold Rush Blu-ray Review

“The Gold Rush” is essential Charlie Chaplin.

Set during the gold rush in the Yukon, the film focuses on a cane twirling loner prospector as he braves the harsh, snowy, food scarce terrains to find his fortune. Along the way he meets a criminal (Black Larsen), a fellow gold rusher named Big Jim, a dancer/woman of his dreams (Georgia), and some life threatening scenarios involving everything from a bear to a cabin on the edge of a mountain.

“The Gold Rush” is often cited as one of the best film comedies of all time and it’s certainly worthy of the acclaim. Between Chaplin’s shoe eating and potato dancing, his performance as the lone prospector/Tramp always has a way of making you laugh while also touching your heart. Even though Chaplin was noted for his slapstick humor and his trademark Tramp character, the best thing about most of his work is that they have heart. While the romance here is a bit forced (and the ending a bit rushed), Chaplin still manages to say so much about love and romance without saying a single word. With expressions and dream sequences, he makes you feel for the loveable Tramp which is undoubtedly why the character has endured for countless decades now.

Summary: “The Gold Rush” is not only a timeless classic, but a great representation of Chaplin’s work.

Video/Audio:

The 1925 88 minute version of “The Gold Rush” (which is presented in 1.33:1) is as close to the original release as possible. Personally, I prefer seeing ‘Rush’ as a silent film with the title cards intact. Admittedly, however, the 1942 72 minute re-release has better pacing. This version is said to be Chaplin’s definitive version. It does not include title cards and has narration to boot (which might throw some viewers off). As for the prints themselves, they have the expected scratches and wavy images, but the prints have really been cleaned up to an astonishing degree. This is the best “The Gold Rush” has ever looked without a doubt.

The 1925 version of the film contains a really sharp sounding 5.1 DTS-HD audio track. The 1942 version contains a Mono track that includes audible Chaplin narration/dialogue and a different score. This may irritate purists, but it’s interesting to compare the two versions.

Extras:
* A booklet featuring photos, an essay by Luc Sante, and a Time Magzine story by James Agee.
* 4 trailers for “The Gold Rush.”
* “Music By Charles Chaplin”- Composer Timothy Brock talks about Chaplin’s film scores.
* “A Time Of Innovation: Visual Effects In the Gold Rush”- Visual effects artist Craig Barron chats about some of the amazing, ahead of their time visuals in “The Gold Rush.”
* “Chaplin Today: The Gold Rush”- A documentary that features movie clips, interviews with filmmakers and actresses, making of stories, and discussions about the influence that “The Gold Rush” had.

*”Presenting The Gold Rush”- Chaplion biographer Jeffrey Vance and filmmaker Kevin Brownlow give a little history lesson about the classic silent comedy.

* An informative commentary on the original 1925 version of “The Gold Rush” by Chaplin biographer Jeffrey Vance.

June 9, 2012 - Posted by | Blu-Ray review | , , ,

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