Charlie Chaplin's The Gold Rush

Posted by jdg | 11:36 AM |

With all the snow we had up here in Michigan this year, we spent a lot of time indoors, which left me looking for good movies for the kids to watch. I dug out the DVD of one an old favorite, Charlie Chaplin's The Gold Rush, set during the Alaskan Gold Rush described so terrifyingly in the novels and stories of Jack London. There is something so hilarious about watching the Tramp prospecting in the Alaskan winter in his rumpled evening jacket. There are plenty of snow-related hi-jinks in this one to keep the kids entertained and tons of iconic Chaplin moments.

Watching it again, I was reminded of this documentary I saw years ago with this scene that really stuck with me: a classroom full of African students watching The Gold Rush in the West African nation of Burkina Faso, laughing their heads off at the Little Tramp. Even though it's likely none of these kids have ever seen snow---a testament to Chaplin's genius.

The documentary also has some great comments by Burkina Faso filmmaker Idrissa Ouedraogo, unfortunately they're in French and not subtitled. But the rest of the documentary does a great job of showing why this is such an amazing film. Of course, if you don't want to watch the full documentary, can you really pass up a chance to watch 60 of the best seconds ever recorded on film?

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