I adored Chaplin's The Gold Rush the first time I saw it, taking to its deft comic staging and its occasional, well-judged sentimentality. Rewatching it, however, I was struck by its depth of vision, with every gag, no matter how seemingly disconnected, perfectly entwined with the narrative and, more importantly, the psychological development. This is the richest depiction of the Tramp ever filmed, one that encapsulates his buried cynicism, innocent material and romantic desire, and often-thwarted but ultimately fulfilled hope. It's also absolutely hysterical. One of the best films of the silent era, or any era, comic or otherwise.
My full piece is up now at Spectrum Culture.