Modern Times (1936)
Category: Movie Reviews
Modern Times is an 87-minute running humor movie that was released in 1936. Charlie Chaplin, the renowned American comedian had written and directed the movie in which his symbolic, Little Tramp character resists to stay alive in the contemporary, mechanized world. The movie is a comment on the frantic employment and economic conditions several people faced through the Great Depression, conditions formed, in view of Chaplin, by the efficiencies of current industrialization. The movie includes celebrities, such as Charlie Chaplin, Henry Bergman, Paulette Goddard, Chester Conklin and Stanley Sandford. Modern Times was considered "culturally important" in 1989 through the Library of Congress, and chosen for the United States National Film Registry preservation. After 14 years, the movie was shown out of rivalry at the Cannes Film Festival during 2003.
Production of the movie
While promoting City Lights during a European tour, Chaplin got the motivation for Modern Times from both the regrettable conditions of the continent by the Great Depression, together with a discussion with Mahatma Gandhi in which Gandhi complained regarding "equipment with only reflection of profit".
Chaplin started preparing the movie during 1934 as his primary "talkie", and proceeded as far as writing a conversation draft and testing with a few sound scenes. However, he shortly discarded these attempts and reverted to an unspoken design with the matched sound effects. The conversation experiments established his long-standing confidence that the worldwide appeal of his "Little Tramp" role would be missing if the character ever conversed on screen.
The majority of the Modern Times movie was shot at "still speed", at the rate of 18 frames for each second, which, while projecting at "sound speed", at the rate of 24 frames for each second, made the humor action, emerged even more frantic. The duration of production of the movie was elongated for the time, starting on the 11th of October 1934 and ending on the 30th of August 1935.
The situation with drugs, observed in the jail sequence is rather daring for the time. Chaplin had prepared drug references earlier in one of his most celebrated short movies, Easy Street, which was released during 1917.
Response to the movie
Modern Times was regularly hailed as one among the greatest achievements of Chaplin, and even now it remains one among his most popular movies. The iconic portrayal of Chaplin, working frenetically to continue with an assembly line, encouraged later humor routines. The opening of a dream sequence in the movie, in which, the jobless factory employee trips over a foot stool on getting into the living room of his "dream house" with the Gamin, motivated an analogous opening to an American TV show, The Dick Van Dyke Show.
Modern Times was the first openly politically-themed movie of Chaplin, and its unflattering depiction of industrial culture, generated disagreement in some neighborhoods upon its first release.
Nominations and awards
Modern Times won the 1974 Jussi award for the Best Foreign Filmmaker category.
The movie won the 1936 National Board of Review, USA award and occupied a place in the list of top 10 movies of the year 1936.
It won the National Film Preservation Board, USA in 1989.
Modern Times was nominated for the 2004 Satellite Awards for the Best Classic DVD Release category.