The Funniest Movies of 1920 – 1930:
THE GOLD RUSH (1925) By common agreement (including Charlie’s) this is Chaplin’s greatest silent film. Alternating between heads-on slapstick and poetic mime, the famous Little Tramp pans for nuggets in Alaska–and winds up broke. In a classic scene, he and his customary foil, Big Jim (Mack Swain), get so hungry that Charlie cooks a boot for dinner, carving it like a steak, then delicately twirls the shoelaces around his fork pasta-style. Chaplin’s comic techniques were to set the standard for the next 50 years.
THE FRESHMAN (1925) The third of the great silent film trio (the other two were Chaplin and Keaton), Harold Lloyd did all his own stunts, many of them dangerous, with skill and humor. Here he’s a frosh trying to ingratiate himself with fellow students.
THE GENERAL (1927) Celebrated as the Great Stone Face because he so rarely cracked a smile, Buster Keaton is remembered as an adroit stunt man and knockabout comedian. But he was far more than that, as demonstrated by this extraordinary silent comedy of the Civil War. As a train engineer who recaptures some hijacked rolling stock, Keaton is audacious, poetic and explosively amusing. As the film’s director, he scintillates.