The Gold Rush (United Artists) (1925)

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£uufhm^! Times Ckan^e—^Wars C ome — Empires Go — But tke Basis of Great Comedy Never Alters "The Kid”, one of Chaplin’s first full-length pictures, established him securely as one of the great comedians of all time — miles ahead of his competitors. By being funny, he justifies his purpose—to make people laugh, in good times and bad. Charlie has been, and remains, court jester to the empirical fol¬ lies of his age. Clad in baggy pants and funny shoes in place of the traditional cap and bells, he As a soft-hearted waif in “City Lights”, the versatile star showed another facet of his genius hy playing a role in which real tragedy alternated with comedy. Satire is the cornerstone of Chaplin’s humor, and in The Gold Rush” he creates hilarious situations hy poking fun at the oft-roman¬ ticized yearning lor gold. er film—a tlual role with dual voices. Much of that problem was solved for “The Gold Rush.” The mechanical changes were already installed, of course. But, more im¬ portant, Chaplin had ah'eady es¬ tablished the fact that he could Talk or no talk, the essential Chaplin holds the stage at all times in “The Gold Rush.” To attempt to outline all the delight¬ ful sequences in the film would be as long as the unfolding of the actual film itself. But a de¬ scription of a few of them will serve to give the flavor of the whole. For example, there is the Thanksgiving meal. Inside a shabby little cabin in the Klon¬ dike, a pot is boiling. Big Jim, Charlie’s huge companion, is de¬ lirious for lack of food. Charlie, no better off, ailigently stirs the pot as Big Jim watches. With all the nuances of a French chef, Charlie lifts a big boot from the smoking pot, expertly presses a fork against the boot to see if it is done to the proper turn. Then he takes the shoe from the pot. I N A time of stress and serious¬ ness of purpose—in the sombre time of war—there is something more than moderately reassuring in the ability to laugh. And, by the same token, we here in Ameri¬ ca are lucky to be able to laugh at and with Charlie Chaplin. Modes of living may change, monarchies and governments crumble, moral values be revised, but Charlie Chaplin—the univer¬ sal little guy in the baggy trous¬ ers and the trick shoes—goes on, ageless, timeless. Dictators and war-makei's will pass on, but the laughter engendered by the antics of Charlie Chaplin will echo down through the centuries. Chaplin made his first film in 1913. Since then there have been major wars, a dozen minor ones, and a host of changes, spiritual and material. At the present time, wc are engaged in the greatest war of all—a war for our very existence. Yet, in all this time, and through all these events, neithei- Chaplin nor his adulating audience all over the world has been seriously affected in the region of the funny bone. The reason is simple. What¬ ever else has changed, the basis of humor has remained constant. Chaplin has been called a genius, and maybe he is—he hasn’t taken the trouble to deny the charge— but more important than that, he is funny, devastatingly funny. He is as funny now as he was twenty- eight years ago, and as funny as his pictures will be one hundred and twenty-eight years from now. The amazing thing about Chap¬ lin is his adaptability. Chaplin was a pioneei- in motion pictures, and today he is still a pioneer. Al ¬ most more amazing than this is the fact that he has accomplished this feat without basically chang¬ ing his theory or practice of humor one whit in the passing years. The Chaplin coaseption of humor is as basic as concep¬ tion of humor itself. U need not, must riot, be changed. The critics claime® that in "Tl^e Great, Dictator^ Chaplin, changed his style and'approach. He had become, they said, a satir¬ ist. Chaplin himself lau|[^s at this appraisal. His style- ancl approach have always been confined to one thing—making people laugh. It still is. As for the charge that he had become a satirist, what else has he ever been? In “The Rink,” he satirized fancy skaters; in “The Rounders” he satirized play¬ boys; in "Easy Street” he sati¬ rized the police; in “Shoulder Arms” he satirized war and .soldiers; in “City Lights” he sati¬ rized the morality of a metropo¬ lis; in “Modern Times” he sati¬ rized industi-y. In “The Gold Rush,” Chaplin’s current picture being released by United Artists, ho satirizes man’s lust for gold. The important thing is, that no matter what Chaplin satirizes, he is always funny. Essentially, what Chaplin satirizes is people. He does not depart from this rule in “The Gold Rush,” and as a consequence, he is funny indeed. has been no less a clown to the world.than the ancient fool was to his personal monarch. Like the jester he has dared to ridicule his master; like the jester he has hidden a caustic, intelligent mind beneath his clown’s motley. And like the jester his principal duty has been to make people laugh! This he continues to do, in war or in peace. “The Gold Rush,” as do all of Chaplin’s pictures, represents the exercising by Chaplin of his full¬ est prerogative: the deliverance of a hearty, side-splitting, up¬ roarious, lusty belly-laugh at human foibles. Chaplin’s voice is heard in “The Gold Rush.” The phrase “Chap¬ lin’s voice” is still something to conjure with. In the last ten years, more has been written about the question of whether Chaplin would speak in films than about seemingly weightier problems. That discussion about this point has been world-wide and profound should occasion no surprise. Chap¬ lin is a world figure, and people take their fun seriously. From Charlie’s own viewpoint his original decision to talk cre¬ ated more problems than the physical one of adding equipment to his studio set-up. To start, he was faced with the problem of giving voice to the little tramp, the most self-suffi¬ cient pantomimic figure the mod¬ ern woi'ld has ever known. Up until recently, the little tramp had been content with silence, had been more than capable of uni¬ versal expression in the medium of pantomime. Before “The Great Dictator,” Chaplin’s voice had been heard only in the famous gibberish song in “Modern 'Times.” The problem was further complicated by the fact that Char¬ lie played a dual role in the form- speak, that he could speak well and without detriment to his pantomime, and finally, that he was very funny when he spoke. Even the most sceptical of critics was convinced. When “The Gold Rush” opens, audiences will be attuned to the speaking Chaplin— but this time without uncertainty. In The CJolH , Kis current picture and his funniest, Charlie Chuplin reverts to his best-known, best-loved character—that of a forlorn tramp with a heart as big as all the world. oday, as in Ckarlie’s Hilari ous Antics C li e e r kis Countrymen tkrou^ a Period of Stress Chaplin’s delightful comedy in his W^orld War I travesty, "Shoulder Arms”, proved hy the manner in which the world took it to its bosom that laughter is most welcome when things are at their grimmest. carefully bastes it with gravy, would spaghetti. Finally, nothing and, when Big Jim passes his is left but the nails, which he plate, delicately wipes it before sucks on as if they were particu- depositing the shoe on it. larly succulent bones. The ciimax Then conies some of the most comes when he offers a nail bent exquisite paiftqmime ever con- in the shape of a wishbone to his ^ceived, even in a Chaplin picture, companion to “break and wish To the melody of a salon orches- on.” tra playing dinner music, he An unfoittettable scene in sharpens hisj,knife professionally.^ Gold Rusl^ls the Oc eana With all the^felaborate-motions oi^Charlie ' two bpi", a' edrving, Charlie separates the'stuck in ^h, and makes them upper from the sols, passing the dance on the tablecloth with all . portion with the nails to Big Jim, the grace, the dexterity and the i#\vho resentfully returns it, tak- charm of a Pavlowa and a Fred ing the upper'for himself. Astaire combined. Charlie, with the extravagant Commonly, in Chaplin’s pic- manners of a gourmet, proceeds tures, he does not get the girl, to devour his portion of the shoe. “The Gold Rush,” though, is an Then he comes to the shoe laces, exception. For once, he gets his which he twirls expertly as one just reward. After suffering the Charlie, as usual, succumbs to beauty in his own wistful way in ’The Gold Rush”. But this time the love story ends in most un¬ usual fashion. rigors of cold, hunger and hard¬ ship during the famous goldrush days, Charlie gets the girl. And not only that, but he ends up a multimillionaire! Georgia Hale is the girl in this, latest of Chaplin relea^K. aijkL the production, as usuSj, v^as written, directed, editeiand ,pro- duced by its star—C^^K Chap- Jin. The music was’l^^fVstfated by Max'Terr; the ‘origilial music was composed by Charlie Chaplin. There is not much lyfcghter abroad in the world today. By the same token, laughter is much needed. And Charlie Chaplin and Charlie’s “The Gold Rush” are the vehicles to supply it in abun-, dant measure! The matchless comedy of Charlie Chaplin in "The Gold Rush” is punched across with compelling art and absorbing human-interest copy in this Sunday Feature story, matted complete ready for planting. Order the mat and get it set on the feature page of your local paper for a sock full- page break. Price of Mat, $1.20. Order direct from Exploitation Dept., 729 Seventh Avenue, New York, N. Y.