Originally a stagehand wore the chicken suit from Jim's hallucination. But when he couldn't mime Charles Chaplin's walk and manners, Chaplin himself donned the suit.
Charles Chaplin stated that this was the film by which he most wanted to be remembered.
The "dancing rolls" sequence was so popular with audiences that, in some cases (such as the film's Berlin premiere), projectionists stopped the film and replayed the scene.
The 2,500 men playing prospectors were real vagrants who were hired for one day's pay.
The fifth highest grossing silent film in history. The other four silent films that rank higher in box office revenues: The Birth of a Nation (1915), The Big Parade (1925), Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ (1925), and Way Down East (1920).
At the time of filming, Charles Chaplin and Georgia Hale were having an affair, so that when their finale's lingering kiss was filmed, it was (according to Hale in Unknown Chaplin (1983) ) "not acting". By the time the movie was re-issued in 1942, Chaplin was long done with Hale, and he trimmed their final scene to exclude the long kiss.
An actual American Black Bear was used for the scene where "The Lone Prospector" encounters the beast. This was unusual for the time, when it was normal for very phony-looking costumed men to play large animals.
Mack Swain decided to quit, complaining that he couldn't bear such a vigorous role wearing a thick fur winter suit. Charles Chaplin let him leave, but decided to coax him back. Unfortunately, Swain had already shaved and rather than have him wear a fake beard, Chaplin decided to pause production until Swain regrew his beard.
The scene where The Lone Prospector and Big Jim have a boot for supper took three days and 63 takes to suit director Charles Chaplin. The boot was made of licorice, and Chaplin was later rushed to a hospital suffering insulin shock. The boot was made by the firm of Hillaby's in Pontefract, West Yorkshire, England; Pontefract is famous for growing licorice and making it into "Pomfret [Pontefract] Cakes".
The only Charles Chaplin silent comedy in which he began to shoot with a story fully worked out.
In his autobiography, Charles Chaplin revealed he had the idea for this film at Pickfair, the home of Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks. Indeed, his two friends and associates were showing him pictures of Alaska and Klondike. One of them was picturing prospectors climbing the Chilkoot col, which gave Chaplin the subject of his next movie.
This movie may well feature the earliest-born actor in any major film. Born in 1828 in Brownsville, Texas, Pop Taylor appears in this movie as the "ancient dancing prospector." (He was 70 years old at the time of the actual Klondike Gold Rush of 1898.)
The part of Georgia (the showgirl) was originally written for Charles Chaplin's new wife Lita Grey, but she was replaced by Georgia Hale when Lita became pregnant.
The first of Charles Chaplin's silent films which he revived with the addition of sound for new audiences.
While searching for a new leading lady, Charles Chaplin rediscovered Lita Grey, whom he had employed, as a pretty 12-year-old, in The Kid (1921). Still not yet sixteen, Lillita was put under contract and renamed Lita Grey. Chaplin embarked on a clandestine affair with her. When the film was six months into shooting, Lita discovered she was pregnant. Chaplin found himself forced into a marriage which brought misery to both partners, though it produced two sons, Charles Chaplin Jr. and Sydney Chaplin. As a result of these events, production for The Gold Rush (1925) was shut down for three months.
The only location shot used in the final cut of the film is opening shot of the miners heading up Chilkoot Pass.
This movie was re-released in theaters in 1942 with a new musical score. Much of the new music was written by Charles Chaplin himself, in collaboration with musical director Max Terr. Chaplin also added sound effects to the film, and replaced the silent movie title cards with descriptive voice-over narration (the 1942 version is included in the two-disc Special Edition DVD of the film). The new release received two Oscar nominations in 1943: Best Music Score of a Dramatic or Comedy Picture and ironically for Best Sound.
Location filming proved problematic, so Charles Chaplin shot the entire film on the backlot and stages of his Hollywood studio, including an elaborate reconstruction of the Klondike. His leisurely approach to film-making - and multiple takes - did not suit the demands of location filming. One of the problems was that the crew could not make the cabin look like it was being moved by the wind convincingly on location. Eventually, Chaplin's cinematographer, Roland Totheroh, convinced him that it would be more practical to shoot the sequence with miniature models with his firm assurances that it could be shot convincingly.
Charles Chaplin claimed he got the idea for the film when he saw pictures of gigantic lines of prospectors heading up to the Alaskan gold fields.
The film entered the public domain in 1953 because the claimants neglected to renew its copyright registration.
During production, Charles Chaplin's short-lived marriage to Lita Grey collapsed and he embarked on an affair with leading lady Georgia Hale.
For an AFI poll, Richard Attenborough, who directed the biopic Chaplin (1992), described this as his favourite film.
The roll dance is one of the most famous sequences in the film although Roscoe 'Fatty' Arbuckle had done something similar in the film The Rough House (1917).
The movie's poster was voted as #13 of "The 25 Best Movie Posters Ever" by Premiere.
Carole Lombard tested for the female lead after Lita Grey's unexpected pregnancy forced her to drop out of the film.
Mack Swain (Big Jim McKay) and Tom Murray (Black Larsen) died two days apart. Swain died on August 25, 1935 and Murray died on August 27.
When shot silent, the film utilized the entire image area available measuring 1.33:1. When reissued in 1942 with sound, the sound strip was overlaid on the left part of the film, and the top and bottom were cropped to maintain the 1.37:1 academy ratio, which sometimes resulted in an awkward image composition. This can be seen on the Warner DVD releases of the reissue, while the previous Image Entertainment disc was mastered from the full silent aperture negative and does not contain the cropping.
Premiere voted this movie as one of "The 50 Greatest Comedies Of All Time" in 2006.
A model of the prospector's cabin and the cliff from which it falls was at one point housed in The Crocker Museum in Hollywood, the first museum dedicated to props and other artifacts from American films. The museum was started by actor Harry Crocker, circa 1928, and was located on Sunset Blvd.
In 2007, the American Film Institute ranked this as the #58 Greatest American Movie of All Time.
This film was selected for the National Film Registry, Library of Congress, in 1992.
The Licorice shoes eaten in the film were made by the American Licorice Company at their San Francisco, CA location opened in 1925. The Company founded in Chicago, IL in 1914 is still in production today at both locations. This entry conflicts with a previous entry: "The scene where The Lone Prospector and Big Jim have a boot for supper took three days and 63 takes to suit director Charles Chaplin. The boot was made of licorice, and Chaplin was later rushed to a hospital suffering insulin shock. The boot was made by the firm of Hillaby's in Pontefract, West Yorkshire, England; Pontefract is famous for growing licorice and making it into 'Pomfret [Pontefract] Cakes'." They cannot both be true; one or the other must be deleted. This entry conflicts with a previous entry: "The scene where The Lone Prospector and Big Jim have a boot for supper took three days and 63 takes to suit director Charles Chaplin. The boot was made of licorice, and Chaplin was later rushed to a hospital suffering insulin shock. The boot was made by the firm of Hillaby's in Pontefract, West Yorkshire, England; Pontefract is famous for growing licorice and making it into 'Pomfret [Pontefract] Cakes'." They cannot both be true; one or the other must be deleted.
Included among the '1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die', edited by Steven Schneider.
Included in "100 Years... 100 Laughs", the American Film Institute's 2000 list of the Top 100 Funniest American Movies (at #25).
Included among the American Film Institute's 1998 list of the Top 100 Greatest American Movies (at #74).
From the title card, the "dinner roll dance" is introduced as "The Oceania Roll Dance".
Though initially released four years before the introduction of the Academy Awards, a sound version of this film was released in 1942 and received two Oscar nominations for Best Score and Best Sound. It is the only film to be nominated for a re-release. Chaplin's later film Limelight (1952) was also nominated decades late, but only because it was never screened in the United States until 1972, and was thus not a re-release.