Modern Times is a 1936 Charlie Chaplin film, also starring his second wife Paulette Goddard. This is Chaplin’s first politically motivated film, a commentary on Fordism. His Little Tramp character is a factory worker on an assembly line, who suffers a nervous breakdown and throws the factory into chaos. This leads on to a series of events, including meeting Paulette Goddard’s gamin (homeless) character. Paulette Goddard in this movie is absolutely captivating.
Although this film was recorded well after the ability to record sound in cinema, it was released as a mostly silent movie, sort of ironic for a movie named Modern Times. This was done because Chaplin decided that it would ruin an illusion if the Little Tramp had a voice. However this was Chaplin’s last silent movie. As per Chaplin’s traditional style, the movie took a very long time to create, and he became obsessed with the process, spending 18 hours a day on set – until Goddard begged him to come home.
This movie is fantastic. The humour of the Little Tramp character comes out in a more intelligent way than traditional slapstick. I really appreciate Chaplin’s immense talent for physical comedy – particularly in the scenes in the department store, such as roller skating, and the escalator portion.
I also really enjoyed the way he could emote without sound – he was fairly adorable.