I saw Charlie Chaplin’s The Gold Rush on Monday. The Philharmonia Orchestra conducted by Carl Davis played a live accompaniment to Chaplin's silent classic in a special performance at the Royal Festival Hall.
Featuring Chaplin in his quintessential Little Tramp role, the film was described by The New York Times upon its 1925 release as
‘a comedy with streaks of poetry, pathos, and tenderness, [...] the outstanding gem of all Chaplin’s pictures’.
Chaplin reconstructed the film in 1942 after the introduction of synched sound to film. He removed the intertitles and some scenes - most famously eliminating a kiss with the leading lady at the end so as not to upset his (then) wife! - adding spoken narration, and recording a musical score.
This performance revisited the 'original' 1925 edit of the visual material, with a score reconstructed and conducted by Carl Davis, who accessed the Chaplin archives under the Swiss Alps and found sketches of music for the removed scenes.
It was a glorious event, laugh-out-loud funny.
My attention oscillated between the luminous screen images and the performing orchestra below, although at times they fused at the call of the narrative; like the famous bread roll dance, or the open doors in a storm routine, or...... when cooking and eating the fish/boot......... or.............the cabin-perched on the edge of the cliff scene......or......... :-)
Queen Elizabeth Hall