John Baumgartner


THE GOLD RUSH (1925, Chaplin)

Okay, just one more Chaplin post!  This is the ur-famous moment from The Gold Rush, a bit so well received that, it is reported, when it first unspooled in Berlin, the applauding opening-night crowd demanded the projectionist rewind the film and show the dance again before they would quiet down and allow the movie to proceed!

Have a look before you read on:


Chaplin makes it look so effortless!  The sheer amount of detail is a big part of what’s so amazing about it as much as his pitch-perfect performance.  Note how he casually will look into the lens here and there (:45); a great touch by Chaplin throughout all his films, that while busy doing something seemingly mundane or involved, the Tramp connects with the audience, communicating ‘this will just take a moment.’  Or perhaps it’s a look that conveys his sincere concentration and what makes it so funny is what he’s concentrating on is the height of lunacy or silliness.  Whatever it conveys, his looking into the lens works beautifully and hysterically.

Chaplin the Perfectionist

This was Chaplin at the height of his powers and popularity and, again, one thing is for certain: this is far from a first take.  You wonder just how many times he worked this out in front of the camera, shooting, reviewing, and tweaking.  Those would be some great outtakes to see.

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