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Modern Times (1936)

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Movie Info & Cast

Synopsis

Playing a tramp struggling to survive in a modern industrial society, Charlie Chaplin created with MODERN TIMES, one of the most elaborate cinematic critiques of the effects of mass production on 20th century life. With his usual charm and bad luck, Charlie Chaplin's most famous character The Tramp, executes some of his most famous slapstick routines around massive/glorified machines, accidentally ends up in the middle of a communist rally, and falls in love with a street waif played by Chaplin's then real-life partner Paulette Goddard.

Cast

  • Charles Chaplin
  • Paulette Goddard
  • Henry Bergman
  • Tiny Sandford
  • Chester Conklin
  • Hank Mann
  • Stanley Blystone
  • Al Ernest Garcia
  • Richard Alexander
  • Cecil Reynolds

Did You Know?

Trivia

  • Co-star Paulette Goddard actually made significant story contributions.
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Goofs

  • (at around 1h 3 mins) When the factory worker is trapped in the machine, the position of some of the wheels changes between shots.
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Quotes

    • [Listening to a phonograph record]
    • The Mechanical Salesman: Good morning, my friends. This record comes to you through the Sales Talk Transcription Company, Incorporated: your speaker, the Mechanical Salesman. May I take the pleasure of introducing Mr. J. Widdecombe Billows, the inventor of the Billows Feeding Machine, a practical device which automatically feeds your men while at work? Don't stop for lunch: be ahead of your competitor. The Billows Feeding Machine will eliminate the lunch hour, increase your production, and decrease your overhead. Allow us to point out some of the features of this wonderful machine: its beautiful, aerodynamic, streamlined body; its smoothness of action, made silent by our electro-porous metal ball bearings. Let us acquaint you with our automaton soup plate - its compressed-air blower, no breath necessary, no energy required to cool the soup. Notice the revolving plate with the automatic food pusher. Observe our counter-shaft, double-knee-action corn feeder, with its synchro-mesh transmission, which enables you to shift from high to low gear by the mere tip of the tongue. Then there is the hydro-compressed, sterilized mouth wiper: its factors of control insure against spots on the shirt front. These are but a few of the delightful features of the Billows Feeding Machine. Let us demonstrate with one of your workers, for actions speak louder than words. Remember, if you wish to keep ahead of your competitor, you cannot afford to ignore the importance of the Billows Feeding Machine.
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Metacritic

100

An ungainly masterpiece, but Chaplin's ungainliness is something one can grow fond of.

Metacritic review by Mick LaSalle
Mick LaSalle
San Francisco Chronicle
100

Chaplin's sentimental politics and peerless comic invention dovetailed more perfectly in this film than in any other he made.

Metacritic review by Ty Burr
Ty Burr
Boston Globe
100

Charlie Chaplin finally got around to acknowledging the 20th century in this 1936 film, which substitutes machine-age gags for the fading Victoriana of his other work. Consequently, it's the coldest of his major features, though no less brilliant for it.

Metacritic review by Dave Kehr
Dave Kehr
Chicago Reader