Modern Times (2/1)

In the process of producing his farewell to silent film as a medium, Chaplin crafted in Modern Times a superlative statement about the American everyman’s place amongst the crushing realities of the Great Depression, all couched inside truly memorable slapstick conceits whose images haven’t lost an ounce of their power. From its Metropolis-meets-DEVO “mechanized man” opening act (which would later inspire the classic “assembly line” routine from I Love Lucy), to its later “department store fantasia,” political demonstration, prison break and high-class restaurant sequences, this send-up of both capitalism and its socialist counterpart delivers its powerful message amongst a non-stop parade of magnificent antics handpicked and re-created from Chaplin’s early days — and a clever, subtle sound-effects backdrop that never intrudes on the “silent”-ness at the film’s core. Serious and silly, contemplative and crazy, Modern Times is an unmissable treasure.
Dir. Charles Chaplin, 1936, 35mm, 87 min.

Watch an excerpt from “Modern Times”!
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