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Modern Times More at IMDbPro »

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0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

my opinion?

Author: dvi (
27 April 2001

This is a superb piece of cinematic genius. The movie kicks off with a harsh comment on modern society as Chaplin combines a shot of sheep with people pouring out of the underground. A nice detail is the black sheep, which can be seen as a reference to the outsider (Chaplin) The strongest points of the film are the visual gags. Chaplin plays with his audience and opens every register of his acting-skills.

Technically he uses a variety of shot-techniques without making them too prominent. Especially the fluidity of the movie comes to mind. Notice how he lets scenes intermingle by echoing the pose of the actor. The directing skill can also be detected in the way he avoids the problems connected with filming in black and white:we know the colour of the flag Chaplin is carrying is red, because it was attached to a truck with an extended load. The weak points are that he isn't able to keep up the pace all through the movie. Also his critique on society is not very sharp, and the end is moralizing and too positive. Nice detail: Chaplin's comment on the talkies. He sings a song with nonsensical lyrics, to prove that suggestion is as strong or even stronger than the real thing

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0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

very applicable to these modern times

Author: Carl Christensen ( from London England
22 February 2001

There are some good analyses of this classic film, so I'll just take on my observations after watching it for the first time here in 2001, 65 years after it was made. I have been rediscovering the classic movies of the past, esp the comedies such as the Marx Bros. This is the first Chaplin I have seen outside of a few short pieces when I was a kid.

What struck me is how applicable this movie is to the society of our times. I guess this transcendancy over time period is a sign of any good art. As I watched "Modern Times" I couldn't help but think that living in 2001 seems to actual be old-fashioned if you reflect on the dittohead pundits that rule the airwaves, mega-corporate owned & controlled media, politicians that fire up the masses over religion, Iraqi radar, and the usual sanctimonious hypocrisy to make them forget about how they work harder & longer for less, or other important problems.

Heck, insinuating healthcare for the masses in our modern times gets one labeled a "commie pinko" by Rush Limbaugh et al. So can you imagine the reaction in modern times of a group of workers peacefully walking down the street with a guy waving a red flag? They'd have the riot cops out spraying Mace & pepper gas before you can hum a few bars from "Smile." Can you imagine a film with leftist, socialist sympathies being released in these modern times? In makes you wonder which times seem more modern from a human perspective, the 1936 of this film or the 2001 of corporate America?

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1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Must watch - even for the younger like me

Author: Iivari Mokelainen from Finland
12 April 2014

There is no point in reviewing this movie. It is a classic for all times. Charlie Chaplin is not a household name without reason. Watch this movie if you like comedy - any kind of of comedy.

As a 1991 born kid, I did not think this would hit home, but it was one of the best comedies I ever watched. It was funny, sad and entertaining. The lack of color did not bother me at all, nor did the lack of sound. It is simply one of the best movies ever, even if it is very old.

Charlie Chaplin is an amazing actor. Without voice he conveys so many emotions, so many feelings. If you think you like comedies you should definitely watch this movie.

While one would think that "Modern Times" in 1936 would be different from present, it is not so. This movie, while being almost 80 years old, still makes sense, still is relevant.

Newer titles usually focus on current things, but this comedy makes you think about our society, how did we get here and so on.

I know no other titles that are such timeless classic.

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1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Even it's still appropriate for developing country nowadays

Author: Evan Dewangga from Semarang, Indonesia
1 April 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

So, let's start with make some "time tolerance" for this movie. You know, it was on 1936 when this movie was released and it is a kind of critic for those days. Far from that era, I watch "Modern Times" on 2013, that's actually weird when a teenage like me curious about silent movie. But, that doesn't matter as long as the movie that I watch is a masterpiece or special feature of its time. And Charlie Chaplin, as everybody knows, is maestro for silent film era. He is funny but genius, yes, a best figure of early cinema.

"Modern Times" is my first Charlie Chaplin's, this is important because first time watching can create a pure impression. Yes, I surprised with Chaplin's impossible yet dangerous scene like skating in the second floor. That scene really makes me thump. Every single accelerated act is honestly weird for me, but sometimes it looks funny with great acting of Charlie himself. Other peculiarity is its absurd scene, like suddenly fallen to river, enter to the heart of machine, and singing also dancing. With some touch of sentimental soul, that's just make the whole film amazing.

That's only the outer part of the movie, but the soul of the film is critic for the government, or economic system, especially in the United States of America. Explicitly, you can watch the crowd in front of factory to get a job, and some kind of misjudgment in the real life. What I want to say is even the innocent and kind man like the tramp will suffer if the system is not fit. That's the 1930's America, it's also like the system of developing country nowadays. As the country develops, it meets so many problem that's make many people become a victim. The Tramp is a symbol of poor man struggle with violent world, you must work hard and smart to be the "winner" of your life freedom. I mean freedom of possession, prosperity, and to opine.

That's a deep message that is delivered with this complex yet humble movie, "Modern Times". The complication of the system translated by this single comedy film. So fun, so great, so critical. What a hilarious one!

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1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

And a toulee toulee tois!

Author: joebobs from United Kingdom
15 February 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Joe's current Rank: 1/1034 Where to begin? How to describe a film of such beauty, genius and wit? In my opinion, not only the greatest Chaplin film, but the best comedy film of all time, and a contender for the greatest film of all time.

This is Chaplin's attack on modern capitalist society – attack is the wrong word, as Chaplin never attacks, he is too smart and too kind. He holds up a mirror and says, 'isn't this absurd?' We see the factory owner who constantly increases the speed on the assembly line, resulting in The Tramp being unable to stop wrenching things when he has moved off the machine and causing an uncontrollable twitch; there is the automatic dinner machine to prevent lunch breaks halting productivity; the state removing children from a caring sister in a poor but happy home; the homeless being arrested for stealing bread; the police attack on communists (a grim foreboding of Chaplin's later career). You could include all these areas in a social drama and it would be thought-provoking, but Chaplin puts these things in comedy and it is even more powerful. By representing something in drama, the creator is asking 'have you noticed that this happens in society?' But for something to work in comedy, the creator has to assume we all already know these things occur, he's showing that these things are commonplace, and yet they are absurd. There is even the great visual metaphor when Chaplin literally becomes a cog in the machine.

But it's not just the social commentary that makes this film great, it's the beautiful sweetness of Chaplin's films that I love. Take the scene when The Tramp and his new girlfriend find themselves a home, a tiny wooden shack on the edge of a swamp, where a broom holds the roof up, and The Tramp enters and states, 'it's paradise!' Or when he attempts to get arrested, so whilst being held by the policeman (off screen) he helps himself to a cigar and hands out chocolate to children, taken from an unsuspecting shopkeeper trying to promote his goods.

Then of course, there are the laughs. A few have already been mentioned, but the scene that, for me, is perhaps the funniest in film history, is the dancing waiter. Chaplin writes the words to a song he must perform on his cuffs, only for them to fly off as he swishes his hands in the opening of the song. His delivery is impeccable, he continues the same smile, unknowing of the situation he is about to enter, and the dramatic irony is genius. We know the problem, and our sympathy is with the poor Tramp, but we can't help but laugh. And so he quickly forms a plan to make up the words by stringing together nonsense French and Italian words (maybe others?) for the ignorant crowd, who lap it up. His delivery and timing of the song are perfect. The first time I saw it, I began by laughing so hard, then pausing and just staring as I realised what a feat of cinematic triumph I was witnessing, and then continued laughing hysterically again.

If you're someone who doesn't usually watch films from as long ago as the 1930s, I urge you to reconsider and give it a chance, and this is an excellent place to start. There's a quote which I had wrongly believed was from Einstein but the internet tells me is from folk singer Pete Seeger: 'Any darn fool can make something complex; it takes a genius to make something simple.' Modern Times is the epitome of that sentiment, it boils down all the beauty of humanity and the absurdity of society into something sweet, hilarious and moving on the most basic of levels. It's the story of the pursuit of happiness in spite of the world's attempts to derail it, and a statement on the human condition. It is also very, very funny.

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1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

A Milestone in Cinema

Author: Bruno Youn from São Paulo, Brazil
27 January 2014

What a delightful adventure with The Tramp, one of the most iconic characters ever created in the history of cinema. Charles Chaplin gives life to this factory worker who struggles to adapt to the modern industrial civilization, which is dominated by the intense use of machinery and standardization of work practices. Chaplin does a brilliant satire on the industrialization and modernization of society during the period of the great depression. The film can be truly hilarious and uplifting, but also touching on occasion. Just like in City Lights, Modern Times has several clever gags and they are usually packed with strong social commentary, not being there purely for the laughs. Paulette Goddard is an important companion to The Tramp as they represent together the will to live and perseverance towards all the obstacles in life. One humanizes the other so it's always heartwarming seeing them full of hope and dreams in spite of being in a miserable situation. I am finally getting more familiar with Chaplin's work and I can't wait to tackle his many other influential films.

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1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Buck up - never say die. We'll get along.

Author: Manuel Josh Rivera
14 January 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

One of the many remarkable things about Charlie Chaplin is that his films continue to hold up, to attract and delight audiences. His name is enshrined among the greatest geniuses of film.

Chaplin's foreword to his picture was dangerously meaningful. "'Modern Times,'" it reads, "is a story of industry, of individual enterprise—humanity crusading in the pursuit of happiness."

We should prefer to describe "Modern Times" as the story of the little clown, temporarily caught up in the cogs of an industry geared to mass production, spun through a three-ring circus and out into a world as remote from industrial and class problems as a comedy can make it.

With "Modern Times," a fable about (among other things) automation, assembly lines and the enslaving of man by machines, he hit upon an effective way to introduce sound without disturbing his comedy of pantomime: The voices in the movie are channeled through other media. The ruthless steel tycoon talks over closed-circuit television, a crackpot inventor brings in a recorded sales pitch, and so on. The only synched sound is Charlie's famous tryout as a singing waiter; perhaps after Garbo spoke, the only thing left was for Charlie to sing.

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1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

A Humble Essay on Chaplin's "Modern Times"

Author: Huineman from Spain
8 January 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

In this film Chaplin explores the alienation suffered by men in, as the title goes, "Modern Times" in which man is just another cogwheel within a colossal machine -as can be literally observed at the beginning.

The movie starts criticizing everyman's role in society: immediately after a shot of sheep passing by there is another one of workmen coming out of the subway for work. Man has become not only unnecessary but just a mere element of that herd unthinkingly going wherever the shepherd (i.e., the leaders) wants to.

Chaplin displays strong criticism towards capitalist society for it seeks production alone, leaving worker's well-being aside (even trying to minimize lunchtime by using worker-feeding machines) and splitting work into minute tasks up to the level of driving the protagonist crazy: forced to repeat once and again the sole act of fastening hex nuts he ends up spastic and compulsively trying to fasten anything that might resemble hex nuts (we could say "he's nuts over hex nuts". Easy joke, but I couldn't resist it.)

Critique goes on: constant surveillance (even in toilets), bureaucratic management of orphanages (already explored in Chaplin's "The Kid"); fear of freedom (expressed by the main character's willingness of staying in prison for he's much safer and even cozier); Police draconian measures (as seen when a starving kid is arrested after stealing a loaf of bread.)

Chaplin employed sound to further elaborate his statement. Thus, even though the film is mainly silent, sound is used throughout its footage with a clear intention: voices are only heard when they come out of mechanical devices, meaning the dehumanization of technology (the president of the factory's voice whenever he speaks on-screen, the recorded disc that accompanies the worker-feeding machine, or the radio in prison.)

Sheer differences between rich and poor, or political persecution of dissenting ideas are some other issues related to post-1929 USA's capitalism dealt with in this movie. Something which in turn cost Chaplin being blacklisted due to his alleged communism. Although he always denied these charges, pressure finally drove him out of the USA and to Switzerland.

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1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

The Chaplin six pack

Author: tieman64 from United Kingdom
13 December 2013

This is a brief review of Charlie Chaplin's last six feature films.

A comical take on Lang's "Metropolis" (1927), Chaplin's "Modern Times" opens with the words "a story of industry and individual enterprise, humanity crusading in the pursuit of happiness!", an ironic jab at the mantras of industrial capitalism. The film then finds Chaplin reprising his iconic role as "the tamp", a poverty-stricken but lovable outcast whose ill-fitting clothes epitomise, amongst other things, his inability to fit in.

The film watches as the tramp struggles to survive in a depressed economy. Like "Metropolis", it satirises labour, management and dehumanising working conditions. Elsewhere life for the worker is seen to be precarious, alternatives to playing the game are but death or prison, giant clocks speak to the daily grid of blue-collar workers, bosses are shown to be obsessed with speed and production, the property class relies on police brutality and all-encompassing surveillance, and the workplace itself is painted as an absurdest torture chamber. The film ends with the tramp on a road, America's future uncertain.

"Modern Times" made waves when it was released. It was banned in fascist Germany and Italy, then allies of the West, and scorned by those in power in the United States. It was also heavily praised in the Soviet Union and France, particularly by philosophers Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir and Maurice Merlau-Pony. The film's middle section, which featured Chaplin waving a red flag and unwittingly leading communists and worker unions, would get Chaplin on several government watch-lists.

Chaplin followed "Times" with "The Great Dictator". Hollywood studios wanted the film scuttled, so Chaplin financed it himself. It contains two criss-crossing plots, one about a Jewish barber who is essentially persecuted by Nazis, the other about a brutal dictator, a stand in for Adolf Hitler. Funny, scary and sad, the film would rock the US establishment. Hitler was, at the time, a US ally and good for business. What's more, he was viewed by those in power as a tool to destroy communist Russia. For many, Chaplin was a "subverisive" who was "inciting war with an ally". Deemed particularly offencive was a last act speech in which Chaplin urges the people of the world to "love one another", "throw away international barriers" and foster an "international brotherhood". Though deliberately vague, this speech was viewed as inflammatory. Was Chaplin extolling the virtues of the United States or the Soviet Union? Regardless, the US' approach to the conflicts in Europe promptly shifted. It became an ally with Russia, Hitler became the enemy and Germany attacked Russia. In the blink of an eye, "Dictator" went from being sacrilege to prophetic.

Chaplin, British, was born into extreme poverty and often found himself sleeping on the streets of London. As such, he identified with his "tramp" character completely, as did millions word-wide, who saw themselves in the tramp: desolate, poor and forever bumbling down life's highways. Prior to shooting "Times", Chaplin would embark on a tour of the world, intent on seeing the effects of poverty. He'd talk to many prominent figures, most notably Churchill, George Bernard Shaw, Einstein and Gandhi.

As Chaplin grew in consciousness, so would FBI files on Chaplin. He was put under government surveillance and forced to appear before a Senate subcommittee in 1941 where he was accused of being "anti American" and an "unofficial communist". Many newspapers, including the Times, began a campaign attacking Chaplin, and called for his deportation. In the mid 1940s he was charged with the Mann Act and the FBI would collude with newspapers to smear Chaplin as a sex maniac who "perverted American culture". From here on, conservative political pressure groups would attack each new Chaplin release. Some of his films would be boycotted or outright banned. In 1947 he'd be brought before the HUAC committee.

Chaplin followed "Dictator" up with "Monsieur Verdoux". A black comedy, the idea for which came from Orson Welles, the films stars Chaplin as a bank clerk who loses his job and so murders women for cash and land. The film's point is explicit: if war is an extension of diplomacy, then murder is the logical extension of business. And so banking terminology is used to rationalise murder, weapons manufactures are idolised and the poor are condemned for trying to play by the rules of the wealthy. "Numbers sanctify!" Chaplain says, pointing to Hiroshima, Nagasaki and the ruthlessness of post-war capitalism; kill millions and you're a hero.

Next came "Limelight", Chaplin's ode to silent film. Elegiac and autobiographical, the film stars Chaplin and the legendary Buster Keaton as two fading comedians. A meditation on time's passing, the film's also relentlessly optimistic; man must assert his will, his desires, no matter how glum the times! The film would be banned from several US theatres. Chaplin himself was swiftly banned from entering the US and several of his assets were seized. He'd live in Switzerland henceforth.

"A King In New York" followed. It finds Chaplin playing an usurped "dictator" who seeks refuge in America. Also autobiographical, the film pokes fun at various aspects of US culture, its irrational hatred of all things left-wing and the way in which humans are both always branding and refuse to look beyond the political, beyond superficial branding, to tolerate even the slightest bit of difference or dissent. Chaplin's son would play a hilarious anarcho-communist, but the film as whole messily mixed silent gags with sound comedy.

Chaplin's "A Countess from Hong Kong" confirms that Chaplin's films were moving from the lower to the upper echelons of society. Here Sophia Loren plays a Russian "tramp" who is taken in by a wealthy politician (Marlon Brando). His worst feature, the film watches as "humane" capitalism benevolently absorbs the "detritus" of Russia and Asia. Chaplin accepted an honorary Oscar in 1972. He received the longest standing ovation in Oscar history.


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1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Chaplin's take on the great depression

Author: lagudafuad from Nigeria
30 November 2012

Modern Times is Chaplin's take on the desperate employment and fiscal conditions that people faced during the Great Depression that hit the world between the 1930s and lasted till the late 1930s or mid-1940s. Charlie Chaplin took the depression and the problems it caused and found a way to make you laugh it off. Modern times is an addition to the classic movies of the last 100 years, as it stands out as one extremely funny movie, that you have to see before you leave the earth.

Modern times is a movie done in 1936, that depicts Chaplin's take on the modern world and what industrialization brought with it. Set during the Great Depression era the movie's plot is about how the tramp was coping with the depression and with him was an orphan who too was struggling with the causes of the depression.

Our Tramp also discovered that life in jail is better than life outside.

Chaplin had long been against "talkie" and his last film before this City Lights (1931) was a silent film and he began preparing for this flick in 1934, and it was supposed to be his first "talkie", but he later abandoned the idea of making a talkie because he felt the world was not ready to hear the tramp talk. The movie does have some dialogue, but that can be found in the early scenes soon after the movie went back to the silent film genre. Nearing the ending there is a scene where Chaplin's tramp had to sing to keep his job, this scene was the first film where Chaplin's voice is heard in any movie. The song that the tramp sang (the song is known as The Nonsense Song) was Léo Daniderff's comical song Je cherche après Titine. This is one of my favorite scenes in the movie as Chaplin's version of Léo Daniderff's song was all gibberish with the lyrics being a mixture of French and Italian words in a nonsensical manner that it made no sense but his comical gestures tell the story of what he actually meant.

The movie's opening scene shows where the tramp was in a factory and he had to keep up with the speed of production, this scene has been used by many filmmakers even Disney and in the sitcom I Love Lucy used the idea.

Modern Times, is my 2nd favorite Chaplin movie after City Lights and the AFI's 100 Years... 100 Movies (10th Anniversary Edition) rated the movie78 in its list of 100. There is no reason why you should not get a feel of one of the best Chaplin's film out there, so find it and watch it.

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