Thursday, December 23, 2010

'Gold Rush' (1925) on New Year's Eve

I think Chaplin's 'The Gold Rush' is one of the best ways to mark New Year's Eve. Yes, it has a built-in New Year's Eve theme, so that's good. Gives me a chance to work in the tune of 'Auld Lang Syne,' which carries a lot of emotion just by itself.

But it's also because it's a film that, at this distance (85 years now) is a concrete demonstration of time passing. Like all silent films, 'The Gold Rush' today is imbued with a concrete sense of time passing, of years gone by—not quite nostalgia, but more of a sense of the inexorable march of years, one after another, that is carrying us all along.

And then there's the snow-choked atmosphere. In this part of the country (New England), a wintry landscape is all part of celebrating New Year's Eve, I think. So 'The Gold Rush,' with its blizzards and snowbanks, seems to be a nice fit for that reason, too.

And guess what? We're screening 'The Gold Rush' at Red River Theatres in Concord, N.H. on Friday, Dec. 31 at 8 p.m. thanks to the wonderful folks at the theater and also to Janus Films, which is currently handling the U.S. rights to the Chaplin films. Should be a great show, plus you can enjoy dinner at the nearby Barley House restaurant (132 North Main St. in Concord) after 6 p.m. that night and get 15 percent off your dinner check if you show your 'Gold Rush' ticket. AND we'll conclude the screening with champagne supplied by Korbel. So sounds like a party to me! Hope to see you there: Admission $11 per person.

Here's the press release with all the details...

For more info, contact:
Jeff Rapsis • (603) 236-9237 •


Celebrate New Year's Eve with Chaplin's 'The Gold Rush'

Comedy classic at Red River Theatres in Concord, N.H. to feature live music

CONCORD, N.H.—Celebrate New Year's Eve with 'The Gold Rush' (1925), Charlie Chaplin's timeless silent comedy of prospecting in the frozen north. The film will be shown with live music on Friday, Dec. 31 at 8 p.m. in the screening room of Red River Theatres, 11 South Main St. in Concord, N.H.

Admission to the event, which includes several silent short comedies and a champagne toast for all guests, is $11 per person. The films will be accompanied live by silent film musician Jeff Rapsis, who improvises scores as the movie unfolds on the screen. The complimentary champagne toast is courtesy Korbel Champagne Cellars.

'The Gold Rush,' a landmark comedy and one of the top-grossing films of the silent era, finds Chaplin's iconic 'Little Tramp' character in the frozen wastelands of the Yukon, where his search for gold turns into the pursuit of something even more valuable—the love of a woman. The film contains several famous scenes, both comic and dramatic, including Chaplin eating his shoe and a heart-breaking New Year's Eve celebration.

'The Gold Rush,' regarded as one of Chaplin's best films overall, is also noted as a prime example of his unique combination of slapstick comedy and intense dramatic emotion.

"Eighty-five years young, 'The Gold Rush' is still an effective tear-jerker," wrote critic Eric Kohn of indieWIRE in October, 2010. "In the YouTube era, audiences—myself included—often anoint the latest sneezing panda phenomenon as comedic gold. Unless I’m missing something, however, nothing online has come close to matching the mixture of affectionate fragility and seamless comedic inspiration perfected by the Tramp."

The screening has been organized in partnership with The Barley House, 132 North Main St., Concord, N.H. To help celebrate New Year's Eve, ticket holders for 'The Gold Rush' can dine at the Barley House that night from 6 p.m. until showtime and receive 15 percent off the food portion of their dinner. For more information about The Barley House, call (603) 228-6363 or visit

'The Gold Rush' will be shown with live music on Friday, Dec. 31 at 8 p.m. at Red River Theatres, 11 South Main St., Concord, N.H. Admission is $11 per person. Tickets available at the door or in advance from the Red River box office online at or by calling (603) 224-4600.

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For more info, contact:
Jeff Rapsis • (603) 236-9237 •
Images attached.
More high-resolution digital images available upon request.

Friday, December 17, 2010

'Modern Times' on Saturday, Dec. 26

The usual holiday madness, and also personal concerns that range from ailing parents to newly adopted puppies, have rendered the blog somewhat inactive of late. Ah, but the screenings continue. We have not one but TWO Chaplin features coming up: 'Modern Times' (1936) at the Wilton (N.H.) Town Hall Theatre on Sunday, Dec. 26 at 4:30 p.m., and then a New Year's Eve screening of 'The Gold Rush' (1925) on Friday, Dec. 31 at 8 p.m. at Red River Theatres in Concord, N.H.

'Modern Times' features Chaplin's own soundtrack, so I won't be doing music for that, but will accompany several silent comedy shorts to go with it. 'The Gold Rush' will be all me, with a heavy dose of 'Auld Lang Syne' and a little waltz tune for tender moments that I made up for a previous 'Gold Rush' screening and which several people have said ranks as the best melody I've come up with. (I know, that's not saying much.)

I'm so pleased to be able to screen these films. Initial contacts with the Chaplin estate a few years ago were a bit frosty, but Janus Films (which currently manages the U.S. rights for the Chaplin titles under copyright) have been wonderful to deal with. The end result is that cinema audiences in our little corner of the world have a chance to experience Chaplin in a manner pretty close to the way audiences originally experienced it.

Hope you can join us for the screenings, which each include a selection of comedy short subjects and maybe a few cinematic surprises. Here's the press release for 'Modern Time' on Saturday, Dec. 26...


For more info, contact:
Jeff Rapsis • (603) 236-9237 •

Chaplin's 'Modern Times' in Wilton, N.H. on Sunday, Dec. 26

Free family-friendly screening of classic film comedy on holiday weekend

WILTON, N.H.—Mark the holiday season with 'Modern Times' (1936), Charlie Chaplin's timeless comedy about man surviving the machine age. The film will be screened on Sunday, Dec. 26 at 4:30 p.m. at the Wilton Town Hall Theatre in Wilton, N.H. The family-friendly show includes silent short comedies with live music and is free to the public, with donations accepted to defray costs.

In 'Modern Times,' a fable about assembly lines and automation, the quest of Chaplin's 'Little Tramp' character for a place in society continues against the ever-quickening pace of modern life. But this time, the Tramp has a homeless young woman (Paulette Goddard) as a partner, who joins in a series of adventures that rank among Chaplin's best remembered comic sequences.

This showing features a digitally restored version of 'Modern Times' provided courtesy of Janus Films, allowing viewers to see the film as audiences enjoyed it when it was first released. The film is suitable for the entire family, and a great way to get out and relax together at the end of a busy holiday weekend.

'Modern Times,' Chaplin's final silent picture, was also the last in which he played the iconic 'Tramp' character. Released seven years after the movie industry had converted from silent pictures to talkies, 'Modern Times' contains no dialogue, but includes a soundtrack with music created by Chaplin.

For the other silent comedies at the screening, live musical accompaniment will be provided by local musician and composer Jeff Rapsis.

At the time of its release, 'Modern Times' was hailed as an instant masterpiece, and went on to be one of 1936's top-grossing films. Critics today regard 'Modern Times' as a farewell to the unique art of silent comedy as well as a great film in its own right that's stood the test of time.

“One of the many remarkable things about Charlie Chaplin is that his films continue to hold up, to attract and delight audiences,” wrote Roger Ebert, in a recent review of 'Modern Times.'

"Chaplin's last silent film is consistently hilarious, and unforgettable!" raved Leonard Maltin.

'Modern Times' will be screened on Sunday, Dec. 26 at 4:30 p.m. at the Wilton Town Hall Theatre, Main Street, in Wilton, N.H. For more information, visit or call (603) 654-3456. The Wilton Town Hall Theatre runs silent film programs with live music on the last Sunday of every month. See for yourself the films that made audiences first fall in love with the movies!