Golden Silence

4 Aug 2013: The Gold Rush (DVD, 1925, Charlie Chaplin)

Though I fell asleep for about twenty minutes in the middle because of typical end-of-weekend work-and-movies fatigue helped by a late-night plate of tofu jambalaya, I laughed at a lot of this while I was conscious of it. Scenarios and performances like Chaplin scooping up the knife when his housemate thinks he’s a chicken and the whole shoe-eating sequence (apparently based on the Donner Party) with nailed sole as obvious analog for spine and bones and laces as spaghetti are great because of how earnestly dainty he behaves, highlighting the absurd etiquette of those who actually comport themselves thus in daily life – whether in action or in mentality – by transposing it into blatantly ridiculous situations. Surprising use of deep focus in the dancehall set and convincing natural photography as well as effective miniatures (house on the edge scene). Obviously protoypical for and better (if only because more eclectic) than a large amount of subsequent physical and conceptual comedies.

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