Scenes of the Klondike Gold Rush

Gold Rush Scenes in the Klondike is an American film directed by Thomas Crahan & Robert K. Bonine , released in 1899 .

This film innovates in the usual course of a “documentary” film (this documentary appellation only appears from 1915) by putting several plans end to end .


The discovery of gold veins in this region of Canada, and particularly in the Klondike River tributaries, such as the Yukon resulted in the late xix th century a huge gold rush, immortalized in 1925 by the film Charlie Chaplin , The Gold Rush . But the interest of this documentary, shot during this rush, more precisely in the period when the massive and disorderly arrival of prospectors endangers the survival of this migrant population, is its desire to warn American public opinion of the dangers involved. by nugget researchers.

Technical sheet

  • Original title: Gold Rush Scenes in the Klondike
  • French title: Scenes from the Klondike Gold Rush
  • Director: Thomas Crahan & Robert K. Bonine
  • Production: Edison Manufacturing Company
  • Country of origin: United States
  • Format: 35mm to 2 sets of 4 Edison perforations per frame, black and white, mute
  • Duration: 65 seconds
  • Release date :
    •  United States :1899

Historical Importance

“Five shots follow each other:

– Shooting 1. A full-page log clipping, where one deciphers some alarming sentences, “famine in the Klondike”, “exorbitant prices of food”, “cause: influx of minors”

– Shooting 2. In a mushroom town built of wood, the camera, no doubt installed on a cart, advances in the main street (it is a primitive tracking shot ).

– Shooting 3. Miners roam the streets.

– Shooting 4. A raft, led by five men, rushes down the Yukon River with particularly violent currents.

– Photographing 5. An installation of prospectors, surmounted by tents, where several men, perched on planks, dig and shovel the earth.

This assemblage of five shots is a novation. He wants to express an idea by gathering different shots that make sense only by their rapprochement, what will be called later a sequence , which illustrates here every aspect that the authors have seized drama to come, a famine in this lost region of Canada, threat introduced by the true intertitle that is the first shot on the newspaper clipping. Later, in fiction films, the same literary process will reinforce the stories with “cartons”, texts of dialogues or explanations. This film is the first documentary in the history of cinema, and it is undoubtedly one of his first experiences of pure editing1 . ”


  1. ↑ Marie-France Briselance and Jean-Claude Morin , film grammar , Paris, New World ,, 588 p. ( ISBN  978-2-84736-458-3 ) , p.  61-62

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