Monday, June 30, 2014

Movie of the Week – Modern Times

This week’s movie: Modern Times (1936)

The Tramp struggles to live in America’s modern industrial society in which industry is put ahead of workers. Yet, there may be a chance for him after he meets a young homeless woman.

Modern Times is auteur Charles Chaplin’s greatest masterpiece and among the very best silent films of all-time (along with Sunrise, The Passion of Joan of Arc, Man with a Movie Camera, and Chaplin’s City Lights). Chaplin also scored and edited the film, and he worked with cinematographers Ira H. Morgan and Roland Totheroh as well as production designer Charles D. Hall – his usual collaborators.

As usual, Chaplin also stars in the film as The Tramp. His then wife Paulette Goddard co-stars.

Modern Times is both Chaplin’s funniest and most moving film. It also features a strong political view (much like The Great Dictator), rallying for the common man during the Great Depression and against modern society and the brutality of the machine age. The film was Chaplin’s last silent film, made at a time when all of Hollywood had already switched over to talkies. Even so, Modern Times was hugely successful. Chaplin’s Tramp films all wonderfully blend slapstick comedy with deeper emotional resonance. Here, Chaplin creates what is in many ways a heartbreaking narrative about the dire struggle of the average American desperately trying to find employment as well as maintain their humanity. He juxtaposes those grand social statements against the sheer excitement and joy of his hysterical antics (I personally love the roller skates scene the most). This is a must-see for every film fan.

Trailer: Here
Available on: Blu-ray and Video On-Demand

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