Friday, December 23, 2011

Chaplin's Gold Rush to screen in San Francisco Bay Area

Charlie Chaplin's The Gold Rush (1925) is considered not only one of Chaplin's best films and one the great films of all time - but it also plays an important, even pivotal role in the life story of Louise Brooks.

Legendary in the annals of film history, The Gold Rush is the film in which Chaplin as the Little Tramp eats his boot and, at a would-be New Year's Eve dinner gathering, poignantly performs the "Dance of the Rolls." In 1998, the American Film Institute chose The Gold Rush as one of the 100 greatest films ever made.

A newly restored 35 mm print of The Gold Rush screens for seven days beginning December 23 at the Rafael Film Center in San Rafael, California.

Seldom satisfied with his work, Chaplin added original music to the film in 1942, while also trimming several minutes and bridging the gaps with narration. Now, for the first time, the complete 1925 version - without narration - has been painstakingly restored. With the permission of the Chaplin estate, composer Timothy Brock has arranged Chaplin's 1942 orchestral score to accommodate the length of the original version. The film now runs 90 minutes, as it did at its New York City premiere at the Strand Theater.

That premiere, in the Summer of 1925, drew the famous comedic actor and director to New York. And it was there, at a cocktail party hosted by producer Walter Wanger, that Chaplin first met Louise Brooks - then a Ziegfeld Follies dancer performing at the New Amsterdam Theater. The two hit it off - and spent pretty much the entire season in one another's company. Chaplin (though married at the time) and Brooks even lived together for a time.

Chaplin and Brooks, who were often see together in public, were the subject of gossip as well as reports in some of New York City's numerous newspapers. The two also attended various plays and shows including Outside Looking In, the stage adaption of Jim Tully's book Beggars of Life. Brooks would later star in the film adaption of Tully's bestseller, as well as in later life recount the time spent with Chaplin in the Summer of 1925.

Today, The Gold Rush is regarded as one of Chaplin's best films. Though his opinion of his own work changed over the years, to the end of his life Chaplin often declared that of all his films this was the one by which he would most wish to be remembered. For those in the Bay Area, it is a great opportunity to see a great film.

More info: The Gold Rush plays at the Christopher B. Smith Rafael Film Center (1118 Fourth Street) December 23 through December 29, 2011. A list of dates and show times for The Gold Rush at the Rafael Film Center can be found at

1 comment:

  1. great article with some killer info.

    in our time where fame is an industry, and "celebrity" a common commodity, manufactured and sold- this goes back to when people were famous because there was something about them worth celebrating.

    The Beatles got into trouble in 1966, when John Lennon's quote about being "more popular than Jesus" was misrepresented, into a huge media frenzy- but in 1925 Chaplin was God, and he made a new world of cinema with The Gold Rush.

    some links, fyi...

    sierra nevada virtual museum -
    john lennon, august 1966 -
    truckee, california -


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