Friday, March 21, 2014

The Gold Rush heads-up

TCM's Friday Night Spotlight, looking at food in the movies, continues this evening with another set of movies with food scenes. This week includes Charlie Chaplin's The Gold Rush, in which the Tramp eats his shoe, at 10:45 PM.

The only thing is, this isn't going to be the 1925 original. In the early 1940s, after making The Great Dictator, Chaplin did a re-editing of The Gold Rush. This version added music and narration, and cut out and rearranged several scenes. I for one find Chaplin's narration irritating and pointless; after all, if you've made a competent silent picture, you should only need a few title cards to substitute for any narration. What I've read from pepole who are much more expert on silent films than I ams indicates that they generally prefer the original version too. The original is apparently on one of the DVDs along with the 1940s reworking.

But, as I said, TCM is showing the 1940s edit, as they have every tie the movie has been on the sschedule the last few years. My theory, which somebody over at the TCM boards more or less confirmed, was that the fault lies with the folks responsible for managing the Chaplin estate. For whatever reason, they must want TCM to show the 1940s edit, even though the original is available on DVD, and send that print over to TCM for whenever it's on the schedule. One of the posters at the TCM boards apparently asked TCM programming head Charlie Tabesh about The Gold Rush, and wsa told that it's the Chaplin side that keeps sending out the re-edit instead of the original.

I suppose there's only so much TCM can do about it. After all, they'd like to be able to keep airing Chaplin's other movies, and if TCM piss off the estate over The Gold Rush, the estate might not want to work so much with TCM regarding all the other movies. (I believe the estate holds the rights to all Chaplin's films: isn't that the reason why he co-founded United Artists in the first place?)

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