Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBBB. USA, 1925. Charles Chaplin Productions. Screenplay by Charles Chaplin. Cinematography by Roland Totheroh. Produced by Charles Chaplin. Music by Charles Chaplin, William P. Perry. Production Design by Charles D. Hall. Film Editing by Charles Chaplin. Academy Awards 1942.
Charles Chaplin‘s first major feature is a winning combination of brilliant physical comedy and touching poignancy. His famous Little Tramp character journeys to the Klondike in search of gold and ends up befriending another prospector as well as falling into the clutches of an evil hunter. Stopping for a drink in the middle of the newly developed town, he meets and falls in love with a beautiful woman who never takes any notice of him. This is the film that includes the brilliant scene where Chaplin boils and eats his own shoe, as well as the hilariously funny sequence where he does a dance with two forks and a couple of buns (when originally played, the bun dance was so popular that theatre projectionists would replay it two or three times for rapturous audiences). Chaplin had the odd ability to make slapstick comedy seem witty, which isn’t something you would instantly associate with physical humour, and despite amicable attempts by Jacques Tati and Rowan Atkinson after him, he remains the best of them all. Originally released in 1925, the film was rereleased in 1942 with its intertitles removed and a new narration by Chaplin himself added to the soundtrack.