The Gold Rush

The Gold Rush (1925)
Image Entertainment
Cast: Charlie Chaplin, Georgia Hale, Mack Swain, Tom Murray
Extras: Narration by Chalres Chaplin, Interview, Production Photos, Origianl Scenario

When Charlie Chaplin tackles an issue, nothing is simple or straight-forward, and his take on the ’Gold Rush’ in Alaska, is no exception, stringing up a series of hilarious, outrageous and yet very thoughtful events to create a story that is sure to entertain generations.

’The Gold Rush’ presents itself as a beautifully remastered version on this DVD from Image Entertainment. Although the signs of age are evident in the transfer, the movie’s presentation is mostly without major flaws or distracting defects. The reproduction of the grayscale of the black and white image exhibits a beautiful gradient that nicely renders a natural looking picture with deep, solid blacks and good highlights. The film hardly exhibits the harsh, lith-film look often found in deteriorated films of the time, in which the highlights are overly exposed and the shadows entirely cloaked in black, leaving little to no gradient in between. The compression of the movie on this disc has also been done very carefully, leaving all the details fully intact, without introducing any compression artifacts.

The version presented on this disc is the 1942 re-release version of the film, that was using a narration by Charlie Chaplin rather than intertitles to relay the story to the viewer. Chaplin’s narration is inspired and adds hugely to the appeal of the movie, as it adds a very personal flavor to the film’s presentation. Not only do we get to see the work of this master of comedy and social commentary, we even get the opportunity to hear him tell the story in his very own words, giving many of the scenes much deeper meaning that the very limited intertitles ever could. The audio is generally clean and without pops. It appears the track has been cleaned up as background noise and hiss is at a minimum.

A number of nice supplements, most notably a lengthy interview with Chplin’s wife at the time, Lita Grey Chaplin, are also part of the release. In flowing anecdotes Mrs. Grey Chaplin recalls her memories surrounding the production of this film, her involvement and her years with Charlie Chaplin. A selection of photographs and a production summary can also be found on the disc, as well as a two-scenes play that inspired the creation of ’The Gold Rush’ make this DVD a valuable gem for all Chaplin fans.

’The Gold Rush’ may not be Chaplin’s funniest or best work, but it shows how a single visual cue can inspire the creation of a whole string of events. The film is hilarious at times, somber at others, just as all Chaplin movies. His performance and that of his fellow stars is still amazing after all this time and I don’t even want to know how hard it must have been to shoot this movie on location at the time. Image Entertainment has once again done a great job with this disc, giving us the opportunity to witness and experience the genius of Charles Chaplin in all its glory.