Tuesday, April 05, 2011
#95: Modern Times
Made in 1936, Modern Times was slated to be Chaplin's first talkie and it begins as such. Set in a factory, one sees the supervisors mouthing orders and in a departure from previous Chaplin films, one can hear those orders too. As the story moves forward, we are soon acquainted with the familiar track of a Chaplin movie- hilarious gags backed with yet another outstanding music score..
Modern Timestells the story of the tramp now working in a factory screwing nuts onto a device. The extremely mechanical nature of his job affects his being and he ends up replicating that action even when he is not working. In a symbolic representation of how machines came to our lives even for the most mundane of activities, he is used as a subject in an experiment with a feeding machine that affects him further and he ends up at a rehab center. Paulette Godard plays a gamin that the tramp runs later into and the two work towards getting themselves a job. The movie from there on is the story of the different jobs they end up landing themselves in.
Like most Chaplin movies, Modern Times represents a slice of the tramp's adventurous life. The tramp is still how he was when we first saw him in 1914 in physical appearance. But times have changed and a new mechanical world is not his preferred home. With a storyline that revolves around the misfortunes of the tramp, the movie has enough and more gags to keep you laughing. You also end up feeling sorry for him as this is a world he is not accustomed to. And in all this, let's also remember the relevance of this being the tramp's final on-screen appearance.
Modern Times is an eminently watchable movie for the foremost of reasons in Chaplin movies- Sir Charlie Chaplin. It's funny and guaranteed to give your stomach a painful time with it's laughs. Watch it for some of it's iconic scenes, for if you're a Chaplin fan, you would be incomplete without dipping into this delicious fare.