Cinema: Genius as Infinite Pain

A TV series finds the root of Chaplin's gift in outtakes

For The Gold Rush he took a huge cast and crew into the high country near Truckee, Calif., built a complete mining-town set, labored in the deep snow for weeks—and then used only a couple of shots from the location in the final film. He preferred to rebuild the town on his Hollywood back lot, where only his own caprices, not nature's, could affect the process by which he achieved his most nearly perfect artistic vision. To shoot what seems to be a simple sequence, the meeting of his tramp character...

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