Modern Times (1936)

 ●  English ● 1 hr 26 mins

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This evocative and socially relevant comedy delves into the struggles and successes of a little tramp, who is finding it difficult to match his own sensibilities to the modern mechanized world. Failing as a worker on a factory assembly line, he gets into a series of adventures and misadventures, which leads to him meeting a spirited young lady, who despite having been recently fined, would rather run away than end up in an orphanage. They try to survive in the world together, both on the run from the law, although his previous stints behind bars were to him more comforting than life outside in the cold modern world. Beyond being wanted by the law, the question becomes whether they individually or together can find their proper place in the ever changing world which seems out to get them.
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Did you know? This was always intended to be Charles Chaplin's first talkie. He even went as far as writing a dialogue script and experimenting with sound. However, although sound was used in a very special way in this movie, it will be remembered as his last silent film. Read More
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Supporting Actor
Supporting Actor
Supporting Actor
Supporting Actor

Direction

Director

Production

Producer

Writers

Screenplay Writer
Story Writer
Dialogue Writer

Camera and Electrical

Director of Photography

Music

Music Director
Film Type:
Feature Film
Language:
English
Colour Info:
Black & White
Sound Mix:
Mono
Frame Rate:
24 fps
Aspect Ratio:
2.35 : 1, 1.37 : 1
Stereoscopy:
No
Goofs:
Revealing Mistakes
The juvenile authorities have a photograph of the Gamin included in their warrant, even though they never had the opportunity to take her picture, and there's no evidence of photographs in the humble home of the Gamin's family.

Crew/Equipment Visible
Set lights clearly reflected in car window as the Tramp leaves the factory in the ambulance.

Crew/Equipment Visible
During the scene with the press at the factory machine shop, Chaplin leaves his boss's coat under the press, flattening his pocket watch. A trap door under the press is clearly visible as a stagehand accidentally leaves a corner of the coat caught in it, and Chaplin must yank on the coat twice to free it.

Audio/Video Mismatch
During the Singing Waiters musical number, the singers' lips do not match the soundtrack.

Continuity
After going on break, Tramp turns both wrenches in the same direction. Before that he appears to be tightening them in opposite directions.

Continuity
During the visit of the Minister in jail, Charlie sits next to the Minister's wife and they make funny noises. The distance between them varies between shots.

Continuity
Charlie attempts to go swimming and hangs his bathing suit out to dry. It disappears a few minutes later when he leaves for the factory.

Continuity
When the factory worker is trapped in the machine, the position of some of the wheels changes between shots.
Trivia:
The idea for this 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.

Apparently, one of the inspirations for this movie was a conversation that Charles Chaplin had with Mahatma Gandhi, who complained about how machines were taking over.

Discounting later parodies and novelty films, this was the last major American film to make use of silent film conventions such as title cards for dialogue. The very last dialogue title card of this film (and thus, it can be said, the entire silent era) belongs to The Tramp, who says "Buck up - never say die! We'll get along."

The use of sound in this movie is unique; we hear spoken voices only when they come from mechanical devices, a symbol of the film's theme of technology and dehumanization. Specifically, voices are heard from: The videophones used by the factory president, the phonographic Mechanical Salesman, and the radio in the prison warden's office

Charles Chaplin allows the Tramp to speak on camera for the first time during the restaurant scene, but insisted that what the Tramp says be universal. Therefore, the song the Tramp sings is in gibberish, but it is possible to follow the story he tells by watching his hand gestures.

This film originally ended with Charles Chaplin's character suffering a nervous breakdown and being visited in hospital by the gamin, who has now become a nun. This ending was filmed, though apparently only still photographs from the scene exist today (they are included in the 2003 DVD release of the film). Chaplin dropped this ending and shot a different, more hopeful ending instead.

As Chaplin intended the film to feature his Little Tramp character, sound seemed inappropriate. So, despite pressures to make it his first talkie, the film was made using silent techniques, shot at 18 frames per second and then projected at 24 frames per second, which gave the slapstick sequences a more frenetic feel.

This was always intended to be Charles Chaplin's first talkie. He even went as far as writing a dialogue script and experimenting with sound. However, although sound was used in a very special way in this movie, it will be remembered as his last silent film.

A screening of this film closed out the 2003 Cannes Film Festival. A high point of the festival, an empty seat was illuminated by a spotlight to honor Charles Chaplin.

The Little Tramp's last words: "Smile! C'mon!" (it is easy to read Charles Chaplin's lips at the very end of the film)

.This was one of the films which, because of its political sentiments, convinced the House Un-American Activities Committee that Charles Chaplin was a Communist, a charge he adamantly denied.

Co-star Paulette Goddard actually made significant story contributions.

According to Paulette Goddard, Chaplin was deeply and profoundly involved in the recording of the musical score. He spent days upon days in the recording studio writing themes, and only left when Paulette begged him.

This was Charlie Chaplin's final silent movie, and seems to reflect his own difficulties in adapting with the frenetically changing world of cinema he had to face.