Modern Times (1936)

Details

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Rated: PG

Released: 25 February 1936 (USA)

Runtime: 87 Min

Taglines: You’ll never laugh as long and as loud again as long as you live! The laughs come so fast and so furious you’ll wish it would end before you collapse! See more »

Genres: Comedy | Drama | Family | Romance

Director: Charles Chaplin  (As Charlie Chaplin)

Writers: Charles Chaplin  (As Charlie Chaplin)

Actors: Charles Chaplin , Paulette Goddard , Henry Bergman

Country: USA

Language: English

 

The Tramp struggles to live in modern industrial society with the help of a young homeless woman.

Plot

Chaplin’s last ‘silent’ film, filled with sound effects, was made when everyone else was making talkies. Charlie turns against modern society, the machine age, (The use of sound in films ?) and progress. Firstly we see him frantically trying to keep up with a production line, tightening bolts. He is selected for an experiment with an automatic feeding machine, but various mishaps leads his boss to believe he has gone mad, and Charlie is sent to a mental hospital – When he gets out, he is mistaken for a communist while waving a red flag, sent to jail, foils a jailbreak, and is let out again. We follow Charlie through many more escapades before the film is out.

The idea of the film was apparently given to Chaplin by a young reporter, who told him about the production line system in Detroit, which was turning its workers into nervous wrecks. In the film, Charlie becomes literally trapped in the machine and, in one of his finest patches of comic invention, is battered and buffeted by an automatic feeding machine introduced by his bosses to save time and money. Cured after his breakdown, he is arrested when he picks up a red flag that has fallen off the back of a lorry, and runs down the street to return it, exactly the same time as a left-wing demonstration comes round the corner. He meets ‘The Gamine’ in the back of the police van, who has also been arrested for stealing bread. From then on the theme is about two nondescripts trying to get along in modern times. “Smile, though your heart is breaking …”

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