Charlie Chaplin: Modern Times 1936

Charlie Chaplin: Modern Times 1936

This was a significant film for Chaplin, and is regarded generally as one of his best films. It is significant because it is his first sound movie – although he did not use synchronised ‘lip-synch’ sound, but experimented with all kinds of ‘machine-mediated’ synchronised tracks. It was the last film to feature his Tramp character (Chaplin was convinced that the Tramp should never be heard talking); and it was the most politically cogent of his films – the implied critique of an over-industrialised culture careless of the needs and even the lives of the workers necessary to feed the insatiable production lines – production lines that in one sequence keep going faster and faster with Chaplin forever hurrying to catch up. This particular scene had featured in Rene Clair’s A Nous la Liberte, and the French company sued Chaplin twice for breach of copyright, later settling out of court. (Clair was a fan of Chaplin’s anyway, and flattered by his ‘homage’).

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