Modern Times


This slapstick skewering of industrialized America, as politically incisive as it is laugh-out-loud hilarious, is considered Charlie Chaplin’s last “silent” film, although the director/star utilizes sound, vocal, and musical effects throughout (including the film debut of the wistful, Chaplin-composed tune “Smile”). Here the Little Tramp, driven insane by the monotony of his assembly-line job, punches in and flips out inside a factory where gizmos like an employee-feeding machine may someday make the lunch hour last just 15 minutes. Bounced into the ranks of the unemployed, he teams up with a street waif (Paulette Goddard) to pursue bliss and a paycheck, finding misadventures as a roller-skating night watchman, a singing waiter whose song is hilarious gibberish, a jailbird and more.In the end, as Tramp and waif walk arm and arm into an insecure future, we know they’ve found neither bliss nor a paycheck but, more importantly, each other. (Dir. by Charles Chaplin, 1936, silent with music score, 87 min., Not Rated) 35mm