After watching Chaplin’s, The Gold Rush (1925), I see some similarities as well as differences within modern comedy films. Because the film lacked sound, Chaplin had to focus on using body movements and expressions to have a comedic effect on the audience. For Example: In the scene that starts off with the quote “Get out of here (Gold Rush, 1925)”, the character is trying to force the other man to leave but as he opens the door, the man is pushed backed by the wind. After that several scenes are shown with the person being blown around, sliding backwards, and falling. This could be quite funny to an audience as we know the one character wants him gone. Chaplin does a good job with using the over exaggeration of man falling to display humor. Although modern day comedians focus a lot on conversation & dialogue, some comedians incorporate lots of movement to express humor. The comedian Kevin Hart is a good example of using exaggerated movements. In his standup Serious Funny, Kevin is sliding across the stage, pointing, and making faces all while explaining an encounter between him and one his former teachers, Mrs. Green. The expressions definitely made the story much funnier than it was.
Something that I found to be different in The Gold Rush than modern day comedies is the fact that Chaplin often used words on the scene to display what was going on. For Example, one scene was “Preparing for Breakfast”. For me, this took away from the film. I don’t like to always know what’s going to happen. Some comedies like Netflix’s popular romantic comedy, The Kissing Booth (2018), display some words. The characters, best friends Elle and Lee, had a list of friendship rules that sometimes flashed across the screen. However, this wording did not tell the story.
Today’s modern comedies do have the same blend of comedy and humor. Romantic comedies have their own special genre on sites like Netflix. Writers are really capitalizing off of making love seem humorous.
For me, the dialogue makes the comedy unless I’m watching a cartoon. Animation can be quite funny to me even if there aren’t any words spoken. As for the modern-day audiences, I’m not sure how silent comedies would hold up for them. We focus a lot on dialogue & lack of that can be frustrating.
Garrett ‘s post:
The Gold Rush (1925) as a silent film has to adapt its comedy to be portrayed not with vocal jokes but with humorous actions happening within the film. The kind of dumb funny stunts used in this film to get the audience to laugh reminds me of The Three Stooges, both films utilize physical humor like falling or tripping to get a comedic reaction from the audience. Most comedic films today do have the goofy dumb funny getting hurt scenes for the audience to laugh at, but with the incorporation of sound, comedies now can utilize vocal jokes and sounds to add to the comedy in a film. Charlie Chaplin was a pioneer of comedy with his comedic stunts throughout his films, The Gold Rush (1925) included. I do not think comedians now focus as much on stunts to make a movie comedic, but if I were to choose a comedian, maybe Jim Carrey would be the closest to have some similar aspects that Chaplin used. Maybe back in 1925 this would have been more hilarious to the audience, but I feel silent comedies just do not hold up to comedies that can use different sounds to make certain physical acts, like falling or tripping seem funnier. With the use of sound, even actions movies can have some level of comedy within the film, like the use of a comedic line from one of the characters, The Fast and the Furious trilogies seem to do this very well at times.
The Gold Rush (1925) Retrieved from https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/2/21/The_Gold_Rush_%281925%29.webm