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The Gold Rush
dir. Charles Chaplin / USA 1925 / 69’
subtitles: Polish


Charles Chaplin, Mark Swain, Tom Murray, Henry Bergman, Georgia Hale

Film description

In my humble opinion, this, along with City Lights, is Charles Chaplin’s greatest achievement. In both films, the tramp dons oversize pants and shoes to face tremendous forces. In Lights it is the metropolis, in The Gold Rush the force is nature, where he stands no chance in the face of insurmountable obstacles. Until…

The tramp goes to an Alaska struck by gold fever. Thirsting for easy riches, he combs the Klondike in search of the sparkly ore. Cold, hunger, slog, and attacks by wild animals await a tramp unaccustomed to such raw ‘natural habitat.’ Add to that efforts to win the heart of a gorgeous dancer, Georgia, who refuses to treat his advances seriously.

Nearly every scene is a mini-masterpiece: dance of the buns, eating a shoe for dinner, fighting the bear, or the house balancing on the cliff. The Gold Rush is a paean to the strength of the human spirit, unbroken despite so many falls, as well as an ode to the power of dreams and American industriousness. The greatness of Chaplin’s films is their universality and ability to exceed their own context. The tramp is the focus of hopes and disappointments of millions of audiences around the world, which is why we receive the film’s happy ending without envy – at least one of us made it.

Bartosz Żurawiecki

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