Extra Credit- Modern Times Clip


Modern Times- Factory Scene


Charlie Chaplin’s film, Modern Times, is a comedy with the iconic character “Little Tramp”.  This film follows the life of the Little Tramp played by Chaplin.  Chaplin faces constant obstacles as he is accident-prone and must suffer the unfortunate consequences of his clumsiness.  His clumsiness provides humor and drama for the film.

Chaplin composed his own musical score for the film and provided very little dialogue.  The only time we hear dialogue is when the boss of the factory gives orders through a television and during an announcement made on a phonogram.  Chaplin never speaks; the only time we hear his voice is during a scene where he sings at the café he works at.  Some people may be skeptical to watch a silent film but this film did not need any dialogue.  The music Chaplin provides is fun, entertaining and supplies enthusiasm to the viewers.  There is no need for dialogue as the visual and musical score tell the story to a great extent.

In this clip, Chaplin is a factory worker who suffers a nervous breakdown.  The editing goes unnoticeable but there is an implied message behind this scene.  As Chaplin works on the conveyor belt, he is literally driven insane by the repetitive inhuman work.  Modern Times was filmed during the aftermath of America’s greatest depression.  Chaplin’s breakdown as a factory worker symbolizes the anxiety of people coping with the social and economical problems of the 1930’s.

Furthermore, Chaplin is used as a guinea pig to test a machine that would feed the workers in this clip.  The creators of the feeding machine believe their invention is the future but, where are our feeding machines now?  This scene reminded me of The Jetsons, a cartoon series of a family living in the future.  It was believed that by the year 2000, we would have flying cars.  Essentially, we have all assumed that machines would run the world by now and this scene showcases just that.  They are attempting to invent the next best thing as it is assumed humans will not need to work since machines will take over.

This clip shows the rise of machinery and technology.  They predicted machines would help mankind and it has.  With all the technology we have today, such as cell phones and computers, we are at a constant rise of machinery.  Today, no one would leave their home without their cell phone nor can they imagine writing a paper by hand.  All this leads to the question, what will they come up with next and when am I going to get to fly my car?

I really enjoyed Charlie Chaplin’s Modern Times.  It is fun, entertaining and provided enthusiasm to the viewers with its musical score. Chaplin’s clumsiness provided most of the humor and drama throughout the film.  Aside from entertainment, Chaplin was able to provide a more serious storyline through his character as a factory worker.  He shows the anxiety people were facing as they were coping with problems of the 1930’s.  There is not a dull moment in this film and if you enjoy this clip, I highly recommend you watch the entire film.

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  1.   zacklotkerblog Said:

    on December 8, 2011 at 1:27 am

    I thought this was a great film too! The part at the beginning where they test the feeding machine on The Tramp is one of the funniest sight gags I’ve ever seen.

  2.   cyna13 Said:

    on December 11, 2011 at 5:06 pm

    I love this movie! The music is one of the best thing about it! The mood of the story was so effective since it relates to the Great Depression. The factory clip is such a memorable scene. This kind of reminded me of I Love Lucy’s chocolate factory conveyer belt clip. All of Chaplin’s physical humor is great to watch. This is surely Chaplin’s best!

  3.   Dongsheng Ma Said:

    on December 15, 2011 at 1:40 am

    Great analysis, I quite agree the explanation by you for the “male gaze” , especially the last paragraph, summarized in detail, nice work!

  4.   Amy Herzog Said:

    on December 23, 2011 at 8:08 pm

    I especially appreciated your thoughts about labor and technology in the context of the 1930s.

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