73. The Gold Rush (1925)

United Artists 1923-52

Film still for The Gold Rush


A long line of people snaking into the distance, climb the infamous Chilkoot Pass on their way to the gold fields of the Klondike. Charlie makes his own way, rounding an overhang on a narrow mountain path with his customary one-legged hop. Meanwhile on a cliff edge Big Jim McKay has struck gold. Charlie makes his way over the snowfields using a compass drawn on a piece of paper. A storm brews up and Charlie

takes refuge in a cabin belonging to desperado Black Larsen. At first Larsen tries to evict Charlie but the force of the wind blows him back in. Big Jim, forced out of his camp by the storm, also reaches the shelter of the cabin but faces up to Larsen and wins the right to stay. The food runs out and Charlie resorts to eating a candle, hiccupping when Larsen confronts him with the theft. Likewise when Big Jim comes into the cabin licking his lips Charlie looks round anxiously for the dog. Desperately hungry, they draw lots for who will go to seek food and Larsen leaves. On the way he encounters two lawmen who are pursuing him and kills them both. In the cabin Charlie cooks his own boot as a Thanksgiving dinner. He gives the upper to Big Jim and takes the sole and laces which he eats like spaghetti, and sucks the hobnails as if they were chicken bones. Big Jim, starving, begins to hallucinate and sees Charlie as a chicken. A chase ensues followed by an uneasy truce in which Charlie sleeps with footwear on his hands in case Big Jim tries to eat him in the night. He wakes, thinking his companion is attacking him again but finds it is a bear that has wandered in. They eat the bear. Larsen meanwhile has run across Big Jim's claim and waits for his return. After the storm Big Jim leaves the cabin and returns to his gold but Larsen knocks him cold with a shovel. Larsen though has no chance to take advantage of the claim as a section of cliff collapses under him.

Charlie wanders into the gold rush town and sees Georgia, the town beauty and dance hall girl, emerging from a photographer's. He is immediately smitten and goes later to the dance hall where she is looking at the pictures with Jack, a broad- shouldered male who fancies himself as a ladies man. Jack grabs one of the photos, tears it up and it flutters to the ground where Charlie shyly tries to retrieve it without being noticed. Georgia comes towards him smiling with hands outstretched, but it is someone standing behind him that she is greeting. He wanders off and later when Jack is bothering her, Georgia picks Charlie to dance with her, as the most ineligible man in the room. Charlie is hampered by the loss of his belt and southward drift of his pants. He grabs desperately for something to tie them up with but unhappily picks a lead connected to a large dog. Jack picks on Charlie in revenge and Charlie mistakenly hits Jack by dislodging a clock. Thinking he has laid him out by his own strength he leaves as a hero. Next day, Charlie passes a cabin in which breakfast is being made and falls in a dead faint. The generous owner Hank invites him in and feeds him. Charlie stays in the cabin while Hank goes off prospecting. Georgia and friends pass by playing in the snow, and they stop to tease Charlie by being kind to him. He invites them to dinner on New Year's Eve and they accept, mocking his old world manners. Charlie, in need of funds, clears snow from one storefront by piling it up in front of the store next door. He works his way down the street until he comes to the jail when he thinks better of it. He buys food and gifts for the girls but they don't come. He falls asleep dreaming of the good time they are having, entertaining them with his dancing rolls and getting a kiss from Georgia. He wakes as midnight strikes and wanders past the windows of the dance hall where he sees them all celebrating. Georgia suddenly remembers and goes across to the cabin but is filled with remorse when she sees the empty cabin with the table set with presents.

Big Jim makes it into town but is afflicted with amnesia and can't remember where his claim is. Charlie receives a note from Georgia apologising and rushes to find her, ignoring Jack's constant attempts to trip him up. Charlie is intercepted by Big Jim, who drags him off to look for the gold mine. Charlie just has time to tell Georgia he will return for her as a rich man. They reach the cabin, this time well supplied, and Charlie gets drunk taking nips from a bottle as he unloads the baggage. During the night a storm blows up and the cabin blows away, settling precariously on the edge of a precipice. Charlie blames the rocking of the cabin on his hangover and is only made aware of the emergency when he tries to go outside and finds himself hanging over empty space. He and Big Jim struggle to keep the cabin on an even keel and have to climb out up the floor. Big Jim makes it out and sees the claim, forgetting Charlie, and remembers him just in time to throw him a rope as the cabin goes over the edge. We next see them on a steamship, dressed in several fur coats, evidently wealthy. A journalist asks Charlie to recreate his story by dressing in his former clothes and posing for a picture. As Charlie obliges he steps backwards too far and falls onto the steerage deck below, right into the path of Georgia who has left the Klondike. The ships' officers are looking for a stowaway and she makes the assumption it must be him in his rags, and offers to pay his fare. The truth is discovered and Charlie asks his valet to set another place for dinner. Posing for the photographer as a couple, the pair kiss.


Chaplin-United Artists
Charles Chaplin
Charles Chaplin
Charles Chaplin
Roland Totheroh
Jack Wilson, Mark Marlatt
Art Director:
Charles D. Hall
Assistant Directors:
Charles Riesner, Henri d'Abbadie d'Arrast, Eddic Sutherland
Production Manager:
Alfred Reeves
Charles Chaplin (Lone Prospector)
Georgia Hale ( Georgia)
Mack Swain (Big Jim McKay)
Tom Murray (Black Larson)
Berry Morrissey ( Georgia's Friend)
Kay Desleys ( Georgia's Friend)
Joan Lowell ( Georgia's Friend)
Malcolm Waite (Jack Cameron)
Henry Bergman (Hank Curtis)
John Rand (Prospector)
Heinie Conklin (Prospector)
Albert Austin (Prospector)
Allan Garcia (Prospector)
Tom Wood (Prospector)
Stanley Sanford (Barman)
Barbara Pierce (Manicurist)
A.J.O'Connor (Officer)
Art Walker (Officer)
Daddy Taylor (Ancient Dancing Prospector)
Margaret Martin (Squaw)
Princess Neela (Squaw)
Frank Aderias (Eskimo Child)
Leona Aderias (Eskimo Child)
E. Espinosa (Eskimo)
Ray Morris (Eskimo)
Fred Karno Jr
Jack Adams, Sam Allen, Claude Anderson, Harry Arras, F. J. Beauregard, William Bell, Francis Bernhardt, E. Blumenthal, William Bradford, George Brock, William Butler, Pete Brogan, R. Campbell, Leland Carr, H. C. Chisholm, Harry Coleman, Harry De Mors, Jimmy Dime, W. S. Dobson, John Eagown, Aaron Edward, Elias Elizaroff, Leon Fary, Richard Foley, Charles Force, J. C. Fowler, Ray Grey, William Hackett, James Hammer, Ben Hart, R. Hausner, Tom Hawley, Jack Herrick, Jack Hoefer, George Holt, Tom Hutchinson, Carl Jenson Harry Jones Bob Kelly, John King, Bob Leonard Francis Lowell, Clyde McAtee, John McGrath, Chris Martin, John Millerta, Chris Martin, Mr Myers, George Neely, H. C. Oliver, William Parmalee, Jack Phillips, Art Price, Frank Rice, E. M. Robb, C. F. Roarke, J. Ryan, J. J. Smith, Joe Smith, C. B. Steele, Armand Triller, John Tully, Jack Vedders, John Wallace, Sharkey Weimar, Ed Wilson, C. Whitecloud, H.
Wolfinger, Dave Wright, Ah Yot, George Young, Ed Zimmer, Lillian Adrian, Rebecca Conroy, Donnabella Custer, Kay De Lay, Inez Gomez, Mildred Hall, Gypsy Hart, Helen Hayward, Josie Howard, Jean Huntley, Gladys Johnson, Helen Kassler, Geraldine Leslie, Joan Towers, Ruth Milo, Marie Muggley, Florence Murth, Lillian Rosino, Edna Rowe, Jane Sherman, Nina Trask, Mary Williams, Marie Willis, Lillian Reschm, Nellie Noxon, Dolores Mendes, Cecile Cameron, Joan Lowell, Betty Pierce, Marta Belfort, Dorothy Crane, Bessie Eade, James Darby, Frank E. Stockdale, Freddie Lansit, George Lesley, P. Nagle, M. Farrell, S. Murphy (People in Dance Hall)
Shooting began with Lita Grey as leading lady. Georgia Hale took over the role in December 1924
Production started:
December 1923
Production finished:
21 May 1925
26 June 1925, Grauman's Egyptian Theatre, Hollywood
8555 ft. Reissue Version
Charles Chaplin
Charles Chaplin
Charles Chaplin
Musical Director:
Max Terr
Harold McGhean
16 April 1942