Write descriptive essay about Modern Times movie 1936, write an essay of at least 500 words on Modern Times, 5 paragraph essay on Modern Times, definition essay, descriptive essay, dichotomy essay.
Modern Times
Drama, Romance, Comedy
IMDB rating:
Charles Chaplin
Paulette Goddard as A Gamin
Henry Bergman as Cafe Proprietor
Tiny Sandford as Big Bill
Hank Mann as Burglar
Stanley Blystone as Gamin's Father
Al Ernest Garcia as President of the Electro Steel Corp.
Richard Alexander as Prison Cellmate (as Dick Alexander)
Cecil Reynolds as Minister
Mira McKinney as Minister's Wife (as Myra McKinney)
Murdock MacQuarrie as J. Widdecombe Billows
Wilfred Lucas as Juvenile Officer
Edward LeSaint as Sheriff Couler
Storyline: Chaplins last 'silent' film, filled with sound effects, was made when everyone else was making talkies. Charlie turns against modern society, the machine age, (The use of sound in films ?) and progress. Firstly we see him frantically trying to keep up with a production line, tightening bolts. He is selected for an experiment with an automatic feeding machine, but various mishaps leads his boss to believe he has gone mad, and Charlie is sent to a mental hospital... When he gets out, he is mistaken for a communist while waving a red flag, sent to jail, foils a jailbreak, and is let out again. We follow Charlie through many more escapades before the film is out.
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Modern Times - by a teenager
I had always heard of Charlie Chaplin and saw a little bit of City Lights half way through. I was not really impressed and didn't really care. However I was determined to see Modern Times because I wanted to see what the fuss was about. At first, I wasn't really impressed because I didn't understand what they were doing. I also found the first few minutes pretty boring. I was wondering, "I thought he was supposed to be FUNNY." I even thought of calling this review that. I was not laughing. I felt that way until he does his hilarious signature walk, twirling around the jail. I was feeling very tired and sick at the time and I burst out laughing. I rewound it and I laughed again. That was a turning point. I was beginning to love Charlie Chaplin. Not only was I amazed by his comic genius, but his physically daring (or what would seem so) stunts. My dad and I were amazed at it! We had to rewind several scenes to try and figure out how it worked. It just worked perfectly. Another person who I was impressed with was Paulette Goddard. Although I think she wouldn't have been a good Scarlett, I think she is stunningly gorgeous in this. She really has a screen presence and I loved her in this. Yet another thing that was so relevant was the political element. Charlie Chaplin hits the nail on the head about the industrial situation in those days. So here I am, reflecting on this wonderful movie. Although it took me a little while to get into it, I am now a very big Charlie Chaplin fan. His modern genius amazes me. Not only do I love Chaplin, but this wonderfully told story.

I am a Chaplin fan for life.
Chaplin is Awesome
I love Modern Times.I love Charlie Chaplin.I don't know what else to say that hasn't already been said.He was great with physical comedy and poignant with dramas despite being silent.Acting is reacting and he did it brilliantly with his eyes.
Monkey wrench...
Along with Fritz Lang's METROPOLIS, Charlie Chaplin's MODERN TIMES ranks as one of the greatest (and earliest) examples of the sorry plight of the working poor. MODERN TIMES begins with a shot of a clock (a time clock?) before cutting to a shot of sheep being herded along (to their deaths?), followed immediately by a shot of a herd of workers pressed shoulder to shoulder in their haste to get to work. Not exactly subtle, but the point is made. When The Assembly Line Worker (Chaplin) is selected to test an automatic worker-feeding machine (which will allow the workers to continue working during lunch), the contraption proves impractical. Not long thereafter, The Worker has a nervous breakdown and ends up quite literally caught up in the gears of The Machine. He's extricated and hauled away to a hospital. (Which means that he has better health care coverage than I ever did...) No sooner has he been released from the hospital than he's mistaken for a labor leader (a "communist") and hauled off to jail. He does his time, then meets a homeless girl ("the gamin") and they fall kinda sorta in love. He vows: "We'll get a home! Even if I have to work for it." And so it goes, from one f---ed up situation to the next. MODERN TIMES could very well be "rethought" for today's audiences, though I seriously doubt anyone could come close to what Chaplin wrought.
Chaplin's happiest film : )
"Modern Times" A story of industry, of individual enterprise - humanity crusading in the pursuit of happiness."

this is my first Chaplin film and favorite Chaplin film cause it has a great message about how man has gone with the machine and the movie is hilarious i never laughed so hard in my life and its not crude or anything its so happy.its really a beautiful story.

but what you learn about him being more happy in jail than in the factory, and a great dramatic performance by Paulette Goddard too. this film has great performances even if its silent.

and this film also tells you to not give up like he said "Buck up - never say die."and the music is great too and sound.modern times is must see for anyone.

now you know "modern times" delivers great laughs, some tears and Happiness.

Modern Times Is The Last Great Silent Film
Following the release of City Lights, Chaplin met with several world leaders as he toured the world for eighteen months. Chaplin formulated ideas for his next film during this tour while the United States was caught in the grip of The Great Depression. It was the wave of automation in the industrial economy which peaked Chaplin's interest. His visit to the auto and industrial factories in Detroit served as the basis for his opening scenes of Modern Times. Chaplin preventing his co-workers from chasing him by throwing the conveyor belt switch makes a huge visual statement which correlates with Chaplin's views of workers' lives being controlled by economic oppression. Chaplin, the artist unencumbered by daily life, views individuals in The Great Depression (literally) as cogs, in one late scene, in the industrial machine, left behind or replaced at will due to a changing economy.

In Modern Times, Chaplin plays the tramp for the final time with his latest female protégé: Paulette Goddard stars in her first featured role as the gamin. Chaplin again combines all the known trademarks of his craft into an immensely entertaining experience: Acrobatics and athleticism, allusions to previous films, crisp cinematography, great editing, pantomime, perfect comic timing, sight gags, social commentary, and some pathos. The combination is nearly perfect in a film which often feels not like a feature film but like a series of short films strung together. Several scenarios feature delightful changes in plot and setting, mirroring the necessity for the everyman to adapt to the changing world around him (although not always understanding it or being successful).

The tramp is cast as an everyman trying to balance his penchant for protecting pretty girls with maintaining a job in spite of his inability to gel as one of the crowd in the industrial environment. The tramp works in an electric company factory, in a shipyard ever so briefly, as a floorwalker at night in a department store, and again in the factory as an assistant to a mechanic. In between, he spends a few stretches in the hoosegow. He defends the gamin, who tries stealing bread from a storefront. Bit by bit, the tramp and the gamin join forces and realize it's more hopeful trying to make it together in life than by oneself.

Chaplin wrote, produced, and directed the film with a keen awareness of American society at the time. The film was released during the height of The Great Depression in 1936, and many aspects of the film speak to that, including the common themes of sticking together under trying circumstances and worker oppression. This is the second film which Chaplin composed the music for at the time of a film's original release. The song "Smile" can be heard multiple times during the film, has been used over and over many times since, and has become a standard in the cannon of great American songs.

Highlights of the film include the factory scenes, reminiscent of both Fritz Lang's Metropolis and Rene Clair's A Nous La Liberte a few years before. Modern Times created a controversy between the makers of A Nous La Liberte and Chaplin, taking many years to resolve. The scene where Chaplin inadvertently leads a mob of protesters turned bitterly ironic when over fifteen years later, it was used against Chaplin by those accusing him of having communist and socialist leanings. Chaplin paid for it, informally forced into exile to Europe from which he returned only briefly to receive a special Oscar in 1972. The automation scenes, while highly exaggerated for 1936, turned out to be not so far-fetched in the end. Today we can see this in everyday life, like self serve pumps and checkouts, and not just behind the scenes in factories and businesses. The prison scene serves as a visual metaphor for the working man enveloped by the industrial economy; success may be just as much a result of fate or luck as hard work, just like the reasons for his arrest and eventual release from prison. As the night floorwalker, Chaplin recalls his two earlier films The Floorwalker and The Rink, displaying his extraordinary athleticism on the escalator and with the roller skates.

Chaplin sings off the cuff (literally) as a singing waiter in a commentary about sound in films, echoing the public speeches at the beginning of City Lights. Chaplin has always relied on charm, facial expressions, gesticulations, and personality in films. In Modern Times, his message is clear that sound is as intrusive in film as the mundane requirements of the working world are in the lives of us all. He wisely chose to leave sound confined to the music he composed for the soundtrack and the factory's hierarchical communications filtered by mechanical means; an example of this is the big boss looking over the tramp's shoulder in the bathroom from the monitor, berating the tramp to return to work. The big boss also bears more than a passing resemblance to industrial giant Henry Ford. The film ends with one of the most recognizably upbeat scenes in American film history. Chaplin regular, Henry Bergman, makes his last film appearance as the café proprietor near the end. Chester Conklin plays the factory's mechanic. **** of 4 stars.
A definition of "classic"
Usually you watch old films trying to be generous with your criticism because of the huge difficulties the directors and actors faced those days. This one is a miracle. A comedy that stands tall even in today's cinema, starring perhaps the best comedian who lived on earth. At some parts it is hilarious, but the social message Chaplin wants to pass is always there, making Modern Times even more important. The love story is also very sweet and Paulette Goddard is a remarkably beautiful woman! So what to say about this man's genius? Charlie Chaplin acts, directs and even composes the music! And by all means he does a magnificent job. You can find great symbolism and a lot of political references, we all have to remember that Chaplin was accused of being a communist (which of course was a pride for intellectuals, given their accusers). I have unlimited respect for the Great Charlie Chaplin.
See That Little Man Over There? Remember When No One Was Better?
Charles Chaplin seemingly had been pushed out of the movie business by the early-1930s due to the advent of sound (a medium that just never seemed right with him). Chaplin, probably the best film-maker/performer of the 20th Century, did not despair though. He fought back with heart and emotion and by 1936 "Modern Times" was a major box office and critical success. It is a movie that quietly showed a man suffering through a world of change. As a factory worker in the film, Chaplin tries to cope with the industrial revolution and tries to make it through a quickly changing U.S. economy. He finds love with vagrant Paulette Goddard (who ended up marrying Chaplin in real life) and the two come together and lean on one another in a world of uncertainty and change. "Modern Times" is one of those films that will put a smile on your face, but it could make you weep just as easily. Chaplin's world was changing (and not necessarily for the better from his point of view) and he wanted to express the variations in his old way of doing things and the new way everyone else had accepted. Goddard is also probably the best actress to match Chaplin's charm in one of his pictures. Their love for one another (even though the marriage lasted a relatively short amount of time in real life) just seems to shine on the silver screen and they have a chemistry that is sweet and heart-warming. Beautifully made, wonderfully written, perfectly performed, smart, insightful and always brilliant, "Modern Times" is another film from Chaplin that will brand itself on the souls of all true lovers of the cinema. 5 stars out of 5.
Always modern
Somehow, this very old film is particularly modern today and the exaggerations are not really sooo extreme compared with the real world. The humans, enslaved by the machines and by those who control them, become more and more small and insignificant, like the hero of this very funny comedy (one of the best in the history) that speaks about very ugly things in a very amusing way. The Tramp, is not a tramp in the beginning. He has a real job in a modern factory, that almost kills him, as the factory becomes more and more modern. He becomes a tramp when he stays without a job. Picking up red flags in the street can get you in a big problem with the police, who are there to serve and protect the rich. An honest man can stay honest even in prison and get benefits from this. Even a new job. But honesty is not really enough. Trouble is always around the corner and modern society doesn't permit you to make a new start easily.

Love gives you wings, or at list hope and the power to continue. A beautiful girl of the streets is more than our hero is asking for and he is ready to do whatever necessary. Even put his safety in danger to take care of her. And she, appreciates this. In the end, when everything is lost once again, all they are left with, is each other and that's all they really need.

For the first time is his cinema career, our Tramp will find a girl that will stick with him and support him. (Chaplin obviously felt with Paulette Goddard something that he didn't feel for his earlier women, and I don't blame him).

And this story of modern times, like all of Chaplin's films will end up with an optimistic feeling in a unhappy end. Never is everything lost.

With obvious inspiration from Fritz Lang's "Metropolis" and maybe René Clair's "À nous la liberté", it made the strongest point about THE where we 're going, in all the cinema of the 30's (I think) 8) and with only Marx bros' "Duck soup" being able to stand anywhere close to it. Maybe the most complete, funny and mature creation of the best comedian of the seventh art, with a lot more than a non stop production line of great jokes to offer. If made without a single joke, this film would still be one of the greatest of all of our modern times.
"Buck up - never say die. We'll get along"
By 1936, Charles Chaplin was already an anachronism – albeit, an anachronism who was also treasured as an artistic genius. The arrival of 'The Jazz Singer (1927)' did little to curb the director's enthusiasm for silent cinema, and, though he considered at length the commercial implications of converting to synchronised sound, his first film in the "talkie" age was almost completely silent (Chaplin compromised by composing a musical score). Nevertheless, the critical and commercial response to 'City Lights (1931)' was strong, reaffirming Chaplin's status as a cinematic master, and vindicating his decision to linger with an otherwise extinct medium. Thus, 'Modern Times (1936)' was to follow in the same mould, despite a synchronised soundtrack which includes a musical score, sound effects and several lines of spoken dialogue (always spoken through a mechanical "barrier," such as a record-player, radio or loudspeaker). The film is historically significant in that it was Chaplin's first overtly political work, raising concerns inspired both by the economic hardship of the Great Depression, and Chaplin's growing interest in socialism.

The title 'Modern Times' is used to deliberate ironic effect. Traditionally, to be modern was to be at the forefront of human progress, a step forwards in Man's noble attempt to assert his dominance over his environment; in short, to further distinguish our species from the lower animals. Yet Chaplin believed that such widespread industrialisation was a step backwards for society. Even from the opening shot, he draws comparisons between the hustling crowds of factory workers travelling to work, and a flock of sheep being herded through a corral. The dehumanisation caused by the workers' monotonous factory work is played for maximum comedic effect, with Chaplin's Tramp eventually driven to a nervous breakdown by Frederick Taylor's apathetic brand of scientific management. In these conditions, direct human interaction is minimal, and almost always channelled through an mechanical mediator. In a scene predating Orwell's "Nineteen-Eighty Four (1949)," Chaplin is reprimanded by a telescreen in the bathroom, the image of his boss looming overhead like the spectre of Big Brother.

Chaplin may also have been remarking upon the rise of the Hollywood studio system, which by then employed a comparable assembly-line approach to film-making. Chaplin, who was given full artistic control through his co-ownership of United Artists, worked in complete opposition to these practices, though it could be argued that his perfectionism and often improvisational style was so inefficient that only an artist as wealthy as he could have gotten away with it. Truth be told, there's nothing particularly distinguished about Chaplin's direction – despite his strong reliance upon actions over words, his silent films were never as visually accomplished as that of Murnau or Lang, for example. However, his greatest talents as a filmmaker were concerned with the plight of people, and, however much sentimentality he liked to dish out, there can be no doubt that, in Chaplin's characters, one found individuals with whom they shared a very real human bond, of empathy and compassion. For all the director's criticism of modern society, he possessed a genuine belief in the value of human spirit.

When Chaplin came under fire for alleged "communist sympathies" in the late 1940s, the content of 'Modern Times' was scrutinised for evidence to support the allegations. Certainly, within the director's distaste for industrialisation one may discern an underlying dissatisfaction with capitalism, but Chaplin was definitely not a communist; after all, a prime motivation in his choosing to continue producing silent films was to retain his commercial popularity in foreign-language markets – that's the capitalist spirit! Nevertheless, Chaplin was eerily prescient when he included a scene in which his Tramp is falsely accused of being a communist, mirroring his own intense political troubles, which concluded in 1952 with the retraction of his US re-entry visa. Though he was initially hesitant about breaking his screen silence, as Chaplin's political convictions grew, so too did his desire to have himself heard. For that, he would, however reluctantly, have to embrace the technology of sound, and, for a mouthpiece, he would choose the most hated man in Europe.
Still modern, funny and profound
It is difficult to review Chaplin's movies objectively because many of us have seen them, or at least have heard about them, since we were young. They have become part of our emotional and/or cultural background.

Chaplin is arguably the only complete director: in most of his pictures, he also produces, acts, writes the script, composes the music, does his own stunts and edits. His talent and reputation generated numerous commercial successes, even when he continued directing silent movies after their time. "Talkies" were the only films produced after 1927, the few silent attempts afterwards were failures; yet Chaplin was an exception: "City Lights" in 1931 and "Modern Times" in 1936 were sensations worldwide (the latter includes a few sounds but they are marginal). This is remarkable since nine years is an eternity in cinema timeframe. Only in 1940 did Chaplin direct a talkie.


Is the movie a comedy? Partly: tragi-comedy is Chaplin's trademark. In my opinion, there are three levels of humour.

1. Pure amusement, sometimes as in slapstick: the tramp eats all he can to be sent to jail and even buys more when he is with the policeman; he is drugged in jail; the tramp and the gamin imagine their life in an idyllic house; the tramp roller-skates close to an edge in the department store (fabulous stunt); he makes a lousy waiter but a great actor at the end. Again, I am not certain how much of the fun is derived from childhood memories and/or the fact we feel younger as we watch the film. To enjoy it fully, we must lay aside some of our adult critical sense, notably towards old-fashioned cinema.

2. No humour, just drama: the gamin's father dies; her sisters are taken away; the tramp crashes his way through the crowd to get a job (an efficient illustration of ruthless competition).

3. Amusement with a dramatic twist: these are the most frequent scenes, and probably the best. We grin even as we laugh. The movie opens on sheep moving grouped (of which a black one: an allusion to the tramp?), that fade out to workers coming out of the subway. This must have been a shock for the audience during the Great Depression. Another example is one of Chaplin's most famous scenes ever: the tramp tries the eating machine. It is at the same time hilarious (Chaplin really gives all of himself here) and pathetic: a metaphor on ill-conceived progress, oppression of man by machine and conditions of workers obliged to comply with strange requests.

Other scenes include: the entire first part in the factory, including when the tramp is stuck in the machine (inside shot, that became iconic), which also happens to a colleague later on (outside shot); the tramp launches by mistake an unfinished ship into the sea, with footage of an actual ship that was probably sunk because of the Depression; the tramp and the gamin make most of their shabby hut.

The movie efficiently alternates these three levels of humour, as well as its rhythm. It famously starts as a whirlwind with dynamic tempo and music. And it ends like a roller-coaster: funny musical (the tramp sings), emotional (he is hired), dramatic (the police arrest the gamin), thriller (they run away as climatic music plays), melancholic (they are on the road, free but uncertain). The last image is rightfully double-edged: the tramp and the gamin walk away, but mountains ahead block their road. She looks like an elegant lady, he looks a bit like a clown with his funny walk and big shoes. We don't know where they are going, nor do they.

Hence Chaplin's ambition was far more than to just divert. Themes depicted eighty years ago are still modern:

- Crisis, redundancies, strikes, inequalities, social unrest

- Working conditions in factories, even though exaggerated by humour and symbols: productivity, control, burn-out

- Technology that dehumanises: chain-working, the eating machine, video surveillance (a science-fiction element at the time). Remarkably, the only sounds of the film are coming from devices, not humans: screen, phonograph, radio

- Success with talent, work and some luck

- The law. The topic is prominent (the police are omnipresent) and ambiguous. Can one steal food to survive? Chaplin seems to excuse this behaviour. The tramp is on both sides of the law: he steals food but helps the police arrest villains in jail. And the police's role is complex; notably, they shoot an unarmed man, followed by the ironic card: "The law takes charge of the orphans"

- Violence and drugs in prison

The universal dimension of the movie shows by the fact the main characters have no name: the tramp, the gamin. Chaplin will be blamed for its social topics during the McCarthy era, among other grievances, and he will be forced to exile. Considering it now, this seems ridiculous since the message of the film is not communist: the tramp and the gamin want everything but change society; they search for a job, a home and respect. Note also Lincoln's portrait in the tramp's cell: he is a patriot.

The movie does not take sides. Workers can be friendly or violent. Policemen can be friendly (e.g. in jail) or violent (one purposelessly pushes the tramp outside the factory). Prison inmates can be honest (the tramp) or villains. Women can be attractive (the gamin) or not (all others, actually). This double-sidedness also divides individuals. Big Bill was bullying the tramp in the factory, but later sympathises with him. The gamin steals and then becomes settled. The tramp will do anything to protect the ones he loves (the gamin, children), but can abuse almost anybody else to achieve it: a recurrent feature in Chaplin's pictures.

The underlying message seems to be: people are not good or bad, it mainly depends on their conditions. Yet another modern theme.
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