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, Mason Class 420
Modern Times (1936), filmed between 1932 and 1936, it was directed, written, and produced by Charlie Chaplin. This was Chaplin's first film after his successful City Lights (1931). This film is Charlie Chaplin's protest against what is lost from silent films through the sound industry revolutionizing the film industry. There is no traditional voice dialogue in the film - but voices and sounds do originate from machines (e.g., the feeding machine), television screens (i.e., the authoritarian on the screen in the lavatory), and Chaplin's actual voice is heard singing as well as special sound effects are used. Set during the Great Depression, the movie's main concern reflected the millions of Americans in the era - joblessness, destitution, and famine. It had a number of marvelous and memorable scenes that showed the frustrating relationship between man and machine in the Industrial Age and social institutions. The scenes of the Chaplin's character Tramp is alternated between scenes as a factory worker, a shipyard worker, a night watchman, a singing waiter, or a criminal put in jail. The Tramp also deals with various authority figures during his abuses: a 'Big Brother' factory boss, a minister, juvenile authorities, a sheriff, a shipyard foreman, a store manager, etc. Under the overlaid credits, a clock face approaches 6 o'clock. The preface explains the film's topic: "'Modern Times.' A relationship between industry, and individual enterprise - humanity exploring a median between efficiency and happiness." The film starts with an overhead shot of a flock of sheep crowding their enclosure, and rushed through a shaft. Instantly, sheep dissolve into a related overhead shot of industrial workers pushing out of a subway station on their way to work in a factory during their commute. Modern Times by Charlie Chaplin is a milestone film, showing numerous changes in Chaplin's film making. It is also one of Chaplin's most famous films. It contains quite a few first attempts by Charlie Chaplin. It is Chaplin's movie used to make a social remark. It introduced Paulette Goddard, his partner both on & off screen. It is his first true talking film; in keeping with the movie's topic of the dehumanization of society, all of the voices in the film came from non-living sources (radios, a phonograph record, etc.)
Hilarious, Thoughtful, & Timeless
A delightful film with one great scene after another, Charlie Chaplin's "Modern Times" is hilarious, thoughtful, and timeless. Chaplin combined his silent film skills with creative use of sound effects and music, and added a wide variety of interesting and entertaining settings, to create a film that is very pleasing to watch. Chaplin's own fine acting is complemented by a delightful and charming performance by Paulette Goddard. And the story itself, filled with twists and turns, is a timeless commentary on "modern" life, much of which is applicable to any era.

Charlie's "Tramp" character joins up in this one with a lively, orphaned gamin (Goddard) to help each other through a lengthy series of setbacks and triumphs that reflect the stresses of fast-paced modern life. Most of their adventures are hilarious, but many also contain serious social commentary that is still just as relevant in any age. Chaplin and Goddard make a delightful pair who win the complete sympathy of the viewer in their fight for survival.

The movie has one great scene after another, from some wild sequences in a steel factory, to a set of sometimes breath-taking antics in a deserted department store, to the incomparable climactic sequence in a cafe, and many others in between. The settings are done with great care and wit, and the action makes full use of the props and possibilities at hand.

This is a wonderful movie that anyone who likes vintage cinema will enjoy. Even those who are thoroughly jaded by the excesses of modern cinema should at least give "Modern Times" a try. This is one of the great masterpieces of Chaplin's or any other era.
Chaplin's Genius: Two Levels of Enjoyment
The irony (to a 16-year-old) of a 1936 film titled "Modern Times" notwithstanding, I can understand why anybody would like or dislike the film. On the surface, it's a black & white feature with scarce dialogue & cheap slapstick humor. I personally don't like slapstick comedy, but I realize that was Chaplin's forte. Besides, coming out of the silent film era, films had very little else to do for humor. Imagine a mute stand-up comedian (amen)!

However, there's a second level. The opening title shot establishes that this film concerns the American dream. The next shots show a mass of herded sheep, then a mass of herded people on the street. Later, Chaplin's boss observes an automatic feeder meant to eliminate a worker's lunch hour; this demonstrates the drive for inhuman efficiency.

Then, Chaplin meets the gamin, and they dream of a life together; Chaplin describes a dream home to Goddard's character. The film contrasts the ideal with their soon-acquired home, little better than a barn with a lean-to shed. This is a classic example of Chaplin's struggling common man in a time much larger than himself. I could go on, but it's 12:30 AM...

Chaplin's ingenuity lay in the fact that he could convey a stark message while simultaneously providing cheap laughs/entertainment. Directors such as Michael Moore fail in that respect; I found Fahrenheit 911 alternating between thought-provoking and ridiculous, but unceasingly difficult to sit through. Perhaps somebody should have written an entertaining drama or satire about an inept president named after some piece of vegetation...well, you get the idea. That's what Chaplin would have done (see: The Great Dictator).
My favorite Movie
Modern Times is the best of all Chaplin's movies. The others being City Lights, Great Dictator, Circus, Goldrush and Pawnshop. Modern Times is a special movie. Genius written all over in it. When Chaplin is doing comedy, I cannot laugh, rather there was an air of amazement at his mesmerizing performance, a thing of greatness not witnessed ever before. Modern Times had many exceptional scenes and my favorites include: The climax dance and the events prior to it where he plays rugby with that roast duck, relieving the ship from the dock, blindfolding himself and skating in a danger zone, The dream scene with Paulette in which he had grapes and apples grown inside his home and a cow that milks himself and, the test he undergoes with the food-machine.

Rollie Totheroh's photography is masterful. The movie is my all time favorite and whenever I was not feeling well I'll run it in my DVD.
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.
Last and Greatest Incarnation of The Little Tramp
Well into the sound era of films, Chaplin was not quite ready to abandon The Little Tramp as a child-like mischievous bumbling misfit in his city world. In "Modern Times", the silent era and The Little Tramp return phoenix-like in arguably their zenith. Long after most talkie films released during this time are considered outdated, this film will be looked upon as an entertaining commentary upon disturbing technological and social trends extending well into the future. Although basically silent, with occasional written inserts, sound is sparingly used, though not in dialogue. Among Chaplin's films, it shares with its talkie successor, "The Great Dictator", the distinction of being not just a comedy, but a clear satire on the underbelly of evolving western civilization. In this film, it is the question of whether machines were rapidly becoming the new slaves of men or whether men were becoming the slaves of machines. The inhumanity of working on an assembly line that ever increases in speed is the first target of satire. Lucille Ball would return to this subject in one of her most memorable comedy skits. Henry Ford found that the cure for the astronomical turnover rate of workers on his assembly lines was to pay unheard of wages to his largely immigrant work force. The next target of satire is the invention of mechanical aids that are more trouble and danger than they are worth, or which rob us of our remaining sense of humanity. This is his famous automatic feeding machine comedy scene, one of the most hilarious comedy scenes in the history of film making. Next, Chaplin satirizes the increasing overcomplexity and bodily danger of machines and of life in general. Throughout the film, he mixes routine physical and situational comedy with occasional specialized situations.

The Little Tramp is soon fired from every job he lands, whether it's on an assembly line, a construction job, a singing waiter or a mere night watchman. He lands in jail several times, sometimes for his own misdeeds, sometimes for the misdeeds of others. He is a misfit in an age where employees are expected to follow the rules to the letter and to be competent at their tasks. That's why he remains basically a vagrant, at the bottom of the social hierarchy. Each of us knows people who are less extreme versions of The Little Tramp. The Hippies of the later counterculture were rather like Charlie, except they mostly indulged in mind-bending drugs. Like Charlie, they thumbed their noses at the expectations of conventional society, often managing to survive on the throwaways of that society, by sometimes stealing the essentials for living or on occasional odd jobs. In the parting scene, Charlie and his street urchin girl friend(Paulette Goddard) are traveling onward, looking for a way to make their fortune or alternatively for work lives they can live with: something they are competent at, that doesn't maim them or give them a nervous breakdown and that gives them a sense of satisfaction. Most people in western society must travel this road at least once, if not periodically.
This is the supreme Chaplin picture of them all. As a fond farewell to silent pictures, Chaplin and a young, gorgeous Paulette Goddard (his wife at the time) deliver groundbreaking performances in this moving drama/hilarious comedy about not one, but two tramps trying "to get along". I recommend this film to anyone looking for a good laugh, or in the case of this picture, a million. Although at first when/if you sit down to watch it, you'll think what you're watching is a completely silent movie. Believe me, for a mostly silent film, it's pretty loud. Both in it's synchronized soundtrack (with the exception of voices) and it's emotional stand point.
Hilarious work of genius
Hilarious, touching, anarchic, revolutionary, realist, surreal, of its time, timeless - Modern Times is a multifaceted work of genius. When it's over and you recall the number of sight gags and magic sequences Chaplin has packed into 85 minutes, it is incredible - the conveyer belt and nut turning; Chaplin caught in the cogwheels; the feeding machine; the Red Flag march; the "nose powder"; the roller skating ballet; the waiter with tray caught up in the dance (my favourite); the gibberish song - and many more. Then there is his mixing of silent and sound techniques, making the best of both worlds, not falling between stools as some directors might have done.

Of course, there is also a political and social dimension; many of the scenes refer to the impact of technical advances, of bureaucracy, and of the then current depression, on the ordinary "little man". And it is the little man, the individual caught up in society's complex machinery, whom Chaplin championed. He may have sympathised with left-wing political parties and unions in so far as they supported ordinary working people, but Chaplin's essential beliefs are enshrined in the final "words" and shot, with him telling Paulette Godard, that she should keep smiling, they will get along, as they walk, a couple of individuals, into an uncertain future. Beyond politics, the individual has to rely on his or her own resources and spirit to survive.

what I thought it was about
It's not about it being hilarious I just had to watch this movie too. Its about its social ties to the silent era. All the sound effects and voices were done in post. Its about Chaplin making fun of the new talkie movies of that time. He has an evil boss who talks notice. A new machine is made to eliminate the lunch hour. People trying to make more money on people who don't have any. The two main characters that are struggling just to get by never make a sound. Also when Chaplin does finally speak he signs a song to Americans in another language and they love it. Actions speak louder than words and that's what this movie is about. Chaplin pokes fun at the new films and makes a silent movie when they were all but over. Probably one of the 50 best movies ever made for its history, hidden meanings, and subtext.
The Inspiration of continuing greatness...
Chaplin's "Modern Times" has influenced the 20th century as much as any other film could have. His portrayal of man vs. machine, individual vs. group, love vs. industry...is the framework of classic modern American "anti-progressive" thinking. Gilliam's "Brazil" is the late century equivalent. But Chaplin hit it right first, insuring generations would have the chance to relate to the challenges of their own modern times.
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