Charlie Chaplin’s Modern Times is a classic movie that tells the story of a man who is trying to make it in the modern world. The movie follows his struggles as he tries to find work and make a life for himself. Charlie Chaplin was one of the most popular actors of his time, and his movies are still loved by many today. Modern Times is considered one of his best works, and it is sure to entertain and enlighten viewers of all ages.
I felt that the film Modern Times, which Charlie Chaplin wrote, directed, scored, and produced, was his way to express the conflict between man and machine using humor; and that humans seeking for an internal pleasure during those difficult times. To obtain food and shelter, mankind was at the mercy of machines, bosses, and timepieces in the movie.
The workers were robots, cogs in the machine that Chaplin showed controlled their lives. In the beginning of the movie, Charlie works on an assembly line in a factory and his co-workers are other men who are also working on the line. The machines they work with control their every move; if they do not keep up with the machine, they will get hurt. Charlie is constantly getting into trouble because he can not keep up with the pace of the machines and he is constantly being scolded by his boss.
When Charlie tries to steal a pair of shoes from the factory, he is caught and sent to jail. While in jail, Charlie meets a woman named Paulette Goddard, who has been arrested for protesting against capitalism. Charlie and Paulette become friends and when they are released from jail, they go on a date. Charlie takes Paulette to a restaurant, but he can not afford to pay the bill, so he has to steal food from the other customers.
Charlie is caught and is forced to run away from the police. Charlie and Paulette end up at Charlie’s old job, where Charlie is supposed to fix a machine. Charlie tries his best, but he ends up destroying the machine and getting fired. Charlie and Paulette are now homeless and have to live on the streets. One day, while Charlie is begging for money, he sees a man drop a wallet containing a lot of money. Charlie tries to return the wallet to the man, but the man thinks Charlie is trying to steal it and Charlie is arrested. Charlie is sent to jail again and while he is in jail, he has a mental breakdown.
When Charlie is released from jail, he is taken to a mental institution, where he meets Paulette again. Charlie and Paulette escape from the mental institution and Charlie gets a job as a clown in a circus. Charlie is happy working as a clown, but the circus owner makes Charlie do dangerous stunts. One day, Charlie refuses to do a stunt and he is fired from the circus. Charlie and Paulette are now homeless again and they end up living in a shack on the beach. One day, Charlie finds a job as a night watchman at a department store.
While Charlie is working, he sees Paulette Goddard being chased by the police. Charlie tries to help Paulette, but he ends up getting arrested. Charlie is taken to jail again and when he is released, he goes to look for Paulette. Charlie finds Paulette working in a restaurant and he gets a job as a waiter. Charlie and Paulette are now happy and they live together in an apartment. The end of the movie shows Charlie and Paulette walking arm in arm into the sunset.
I believe Charlie Chaplin’s movie, Modern Times, was his way of showing, through comedy, the struggle between man and machine; as well as people desperate finding intrinsic happiness during that depressive time. Mankind, as expressed by Charlie in the film, were at the mercy of the machines, the bosses, and the clocks in order to obtain the needs of food and shelter.
The workers were robots, cogs in the machine that Charlie showed controlled their lives. In the beginning of Modern Times, Charlie works on an assembly line in a factory and his co-workers are other men who are also working on the line. The machines they work with control their every move; if they do not keep up with the pace of the machines they will get hurt.
The machines are a motif from the beginning of the film. In the montage at the start, man is depicted as being tiny in comparison to technology, with a little insect attempting to crawl to work. Throughout the film, machines are represented in this manner. The sequence in which Chaplin is drawn into the machine and ejected again is revisited later in the movie when Chaplin and the mechanic are repairing a huge machine and his head goes inside.
This is a comedic scene, but it also drives home the point that machines are large and powerful, and man is small and insignificant in comparison.
Chaplin’s character, known only as the Little Tramp, is first seen walking along a road, trying to sell his toothbrush invention. He fails miserably, and we see him again later begging for food. He’s clearly down on his luck. He then tries to get a job at a factory, but again he fails. The factory foreman sees him as a troublemaker and has him arrested.
In jail, the Little Tramp meets a young woman named Gamin (played by Paulette Goddard). Gamin has been left alone in the world and has resorted to stealing to survive. The two of them bond over their shared predicament.
When they are released from jail, the Little Tramp gets a job as a night watchman at the factory. Gamin continues to steal, but the Little Tramp tries to dissuade her from doing so. One night, she is caught in the act and arrested. The Little Tramp manages to get her released, but she runs away before he can tell her how he feels about her.
The Little Tramp then gets caught up in a labor protest at the factory and is once again jailed. When he is released, he finds that Gamin has been taken in by a wealthy family. The family’s daughter, Ellen (played by Georgia Hale), has taken a shine to Gamin and wants to help her.
The Little Tramp gets a job as Ellen’s chauffeur, and he and Gamin slowly fall in love. However, their relationship is threatened when the family’s butler (played by Henry Bergman) finds out about the Little Tramp’s criminal past. The butler tries to blackmail him, but the Little Tramp stands up to him and keeps his job.
Gamin eventually learns that the family is planning to send her away, so she runs off with the Little Tramp. They live happily together for a while, but eventually they are caught by the police and separated. The film ends with the two of them reunited and walking off into the sunset.
Charlie Chaplin’s Modern Times is a classic film that portrays the struggles of the working class during the Industrial Revolution. The film is full of humor and pathos, and it remains relevant today.