Watched Aug 15, 2012
David Valkenet’s review:
I can definitely understand why silent films, and comedies in particular wouldn't play well to a modern audience. The conventional acting style associated with this era of filmmaking is inherently theatrical. In modern films we value 'subtlety' and 'naturalism' over theatricality, and those who don't adhere to these conventions are seen as low-brow or lesser comedies.
This is why I feel that Buster Keaton holds up far better and is more accessible to a modern audience than Charlie Chaplin (it doesn't help that I watched Keaton's The Cameraman mere days before watching this). That being said Chaplin seems more interested in crafting characters and exploring relationships than huge laughs and stunts.
I have seen a few Chaplin films, from his bigger to some lesser known films and I am usually impressed at how well he makes me care about the characters and story. Unfortunately, The Gold Rush did not manage to make me care about the characters as some of Chaplin's other films such as The Kid or City Lights. Which leaves me with the laughs and the technical aspects. Luckily there are enough arresting images to carry me through the film, as the laughs weren't as solid as I would have liked.
The visual effects are no doubt impressive, I just wish they would have been in service of funnier or more interesting material.
However, it does feels good to finally cross The Gold Rush off my List of Shame and I am curious to see if my opinion of it grows over time and with a rewatch.