The Gold Rush

Charles Chaplin, USA, 1925


On its initial release this film was silent. Chaplin added sound to it in 1942, synchronising the dance and the music together with great precision. 

This sequence is part of a dream sequence where everything that the little tramp desires comes real: he wants to show off how brilliant he is to Georgia, a dancer from the local salon who he’s fallen in love with, who is gently playing with his emotions. He dreams that he impresses the dancers by skilfully transforming the bread rolls into a pair of dancer’s feet in ballet slippers.

The dining table, the playing space where the dance is going to take place, needs to be thoroughly cleared before the spectacle can take place: Charlie invests his imagination into the rolls, giving them status and life, his skill is such that we totally believe in them, like a child playing a game might. It is so finely performed that we see something other than the flat reality of the rolls.