• Charlie Chaplin’s The Gold Rush isn’t notable just for its timeless gags; it’s also a superbly designed film with impressive sets and special effects. For a supplemental feature in our new edition of the film, we interviewed effects specialist Craig Barron to shed light on how Chaplin and his crew achieved some of the film’s visual coups. In this short clip, Barron breaks down the scene in which the side of a cliff collapses under the character Black Larsen, realized with miniatures and photographic tricks.

4 comments

  • By thevoid99
    June 12, 2012
    05:37 PM

    Wow... that seemed so ahead of its time but also timeless. Why can't there be more use of miniatures instead of CGI? It will make it look more realistic.
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    • By Terry Pagitt
      August 22, 2012
      06:18 AM

      Usually because miniatures can be costly and consume a lot of time. In-camera effects also risked damaging the negative and entire retakes would then have to be performed. Yes it looked a lot cooler if it was done properly. The three best examples I can think of where models still look real are Metropolis(1927), 2001(1968) and Blade Runner (1982). When you look at the cost in each respective era these films were made in you can understand the economy of computer animation.
  • By Angus Lamont
    October 21, 2012
    08:38 AM

    The Gold Rush will always remain one of my favourite films. The Special effects scenes have always fascinated me, especially the use of miniatures. To see a short documentary focusing on these visual effects is fantastic. Shame as I am from Great Britain so I will be paying quite a lot for a copy of this.
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  • By john rogers
    October 09, 2013
    05:25 AM

    The restored original version is a superb film, i am so thankful that all the elements needed were found and put together. Chaplin threw away all the original footage after he re-cut the gold rush in 1942. i wish he did not do that, but he had little time to collect so many things from his california studio due to his extracation from the usa. i cannot fathom why americans turned against chaplin. they fell for the propaganda generated by fbi director hoover. chaplin felt deep hurt and could not fathom this either. i am so glad that when he accepted his lifetime achievment award in 1972 from the academy he recieved such a wonderful and long standing ovation from fellow performers and artists. i think he felt absolutely satisfied to receive such a heartfelt response from a generation who did not grow up with chaplins movies, but understood what happened and were overwhelmed and honored to receive such a special and deserving recipient. after the award night, chaplin met with people he worked with such as jackie coogan. that must have been a spectacular opportunity for everyone to see him for the last time. chaplin is for sure in the top three best actors ever in my opinion.
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