Modern Times (1936)
Critic Consensus: A slapstick skewering of industrialized America, Modern Times is as politically incisive as it is laugh-out-loud hilarious.
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as A Worker
as The Gamin
as Cafe Owner
as Sheriff Couler
as Company Boss
as Woman with Buttoned ...
as Prison Chaplain
as Chaplain's Wife
as Gamin's Sister
as Prison Governor
as J. Widdecombe Billow...
as Juvenile Officer
as Sheriff Conlon
as Cafe Head Waiter
as Billows' Assistant
as Assembly Worker
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Critic Reviews for Modern Times
It is a gay, impudent and sentimental pantomimic comedy in which even the anachronisms are often as becoming as Charlie Chaplin's cane.
One of the many remarkable things about Charlie Chaplin is that his films continue to hold up, to attract and delight audiences.
The picture is grand fun and sound entertainment, though silent. It's the old Chaplin at his best, looking at his best -- young, pathetic and a very funny guy.
It's the coldest of [Chaplin's] major features, though no less brilliant for it.
The opening sequence in Chaplin's second Depression masterpiece, of the Tramp on the assembly line, is possibly his greatest slapstick encounter with the 20th century.
Audience Reviews for Modern Times
The first twenty minutes are the work of genius, but then the film loses some of its focus and becomes a usual collection of sketches - though most of them hilarious and memorable. And Chaplin's idea of using spoken voices only from mechanical devices is brilliant.
A classic, influential movie concerning the legendary "Tramp" character (Charlie Chaplin) and how he struggles to keep up in a modern day world of advances in the work force, which sadly makes going to jail seem like an appealing option. Despite mostly being a farce, this treasure of a film has a ton to say about society, and gives some different, touching looks on a few characters who are doing their best to make it in this world despite being at disadvantages financially and not having a real set of skills. The factory scenes with Chaplin are priceless, but it is the creatively constructed and moving finale that makes this film so special. This is an absolutely timeless comedy featuring one of the most iconic characters in all of film.
A factory worker and his homeless love struggle to fulfill the "American Dream" despite the advances of "progress."
This is how satire is done. Clear in its images -- The Tramp literally caught in the machinery -- and exact in what it's criticizing -- the Big Brother factory boss and the criminalization of the economically disenfranchised -- Modern Times is one of Chaplin's most precise and incisive comedies. In this film, The Tramp becomes more than an extension of vaudeville; he stands in for the poor everyman, and as a result Chaplin's work takes on a profundity and significance unique to him.
The filmmaking, or the direction, is quite strong. While this was supposed to be Chaplin's first talkie, it works better in the genre Super Reviewer Alice Shen calls a "neo-silent film" (she coins this phrase in reference to The Artist). Chaplin's use of sound occurs at strategic moments in the narrative: the corporate boss can speak as he has entered the mechanized age, but The Tramp stays mostly silent, only once singing in gibberish. Chaplin sets up the conflict between the ways of the past and the future in the film's technique as well as its theme.
I did think that the film occasionally fell into slapstick and schtick, abandoning its central concerns, but these moments were rare in the grand scheme of the film.
Overall, Modern Times ranks among Limelight and The Great Dictator as one of Chaplin's finest films.
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