Verdict: Cute and funny
Cute story with great composition.
The Lone Prospector (Charles Chaplin) finds himself wandering the mountains alone in search of gold, but instead comes upon the hut where Black Larsen (Tom Murray) a wanted criminal resides. With the help of Big Jim (Mack Swain) who stumbles upon the two, he manages to stay inside the hut as a snow storm rages on. He doesn’t find the gold, but in a neighbouring town, finds himself in love with Georgia (Georgia Hale) and competing for her affection with Jack (Malcolm Waite). Directed by Charles Chaplin.
I am not sure if it is because there is a problem with the recovery of this film, but I found the cuts in the middle of the film confusing. The linearity of the narrative comes into question as we see Chaplin in the town, then up in the mountains, and back without an apparent transition from the two locations.
Chaplin’s films unlike Keaton’s focus a lot more on his persona and characters around him. While Keaton engages with objects during gags, Chaplin engages with people, and both are equally engaging.
Chaplin’s tramp persona is always seen as the outcast, and with great composition shots, gains the sympathies of the audience. Examples of this is apparent in the mountain scene when he walks alongside the mountain is his lone figure is contrasted by this enormous mountain. There is also another great shot taken in the dance club where he first meets Georgia, here the camera is located behind Chaplin as he stands in the shadows looking at the dance floor. Both great shots that emphasize his loneliness and separateness from society.
While I do enjoy this film, I must confess that Keaton’s had me more engaged. Chaplin’s gags are either subtle or extravagant and mostly emits from his tramp persona. The most remarkable ‘gag’ in this film is with the scene in the house, and to be honest, it got a bit repetitive after awhile. It was still enjoyable though.
PROS: Story, persona, composition
CONS: Continuity of narrative
I give this a 7/10.
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