in about 100 words or less
One of the most interesting features of the early trade magazines are the “reviews” of new silent films. In Moving Picture World these took the form of reports from theater operators about their experiences with particular films. Though these candid reports were never much more than a paragraph in length, they were intended to inform other operators whether or not a particular film was worth booking. One such “review” from Finn’s theatre in Connecticut caught my eye from the May 22, 1926: “GOLD RUSH. (6,325 ft). Star, Charlie Chaplin. Not so good. Either the picture or the business it brought in too long and dragged out. People want to see Charlie in something funny. Not in a dramatic role. Get wise, Charlie. Tone, okay. Sunday, yes. Special, no. Good appeal. All classes town of 3,000. Admission 25-35. T. L. Barnett, Finn’s Theatre (600 seats), Jewett City, Connecticut.” (p.345). Now considered one of the greatest silent comedies of all time, this serves as a reminder that despite being ahead of its time, as the longest and most expensive comedy produced, it has always been about bringing in a crowd (Klaus Ming April 2016).