Tag Archives: Modern Times

Modern Times (1936)

By 1930, “Talkies” were a Hollywood staple; a game-changing technology that slowly but surely eclipsed the landscape of film. Yet in 1936, Charlie Chaplin released Modern Timesan antediluvian “silent” film, and moreover, a thinly-veiled critique of the country’s capitalist devotion to industry; for the times, a brazen choice. Of the decision to avoid recorded dialogue Chaplin said: “Action is more generally understood than words. Like Chinese symbolism, it will mean different things according to its scenic connotation.” While not terribly poetic, this devotion to action effectively reveals Chaplin’s philosophy as a filmmaker. And it certainly jives with Chaplin the Performer, who spent years winning over audiences with his balletic pratfalls and boozer’s grace. As for Modern Times, it is a beautiful depiction of Chaplin’s one of a kind “action,” depicting an artist and performer deeply in his prime. For those of us more familiar with contemporary cinema (i.e. more talking in our movies), Modern Times is a wonderful introduction to a bygone era, and the waddling genius who will forever be associated with it.

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