Modern Times (1936)
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Directed by: Charlie Chaplin
Starring: Charlie Chaplin, Paulette Goddard, Henry Bergman
Modern Times ranked # 81 on the American Film Institute's Top 100 American Films list.
Modern Times is a 1936 film by Charlie Chaplin that has his famous Little Tramp character struggling to survive in the modern, industrialized world.
The film is a comment on the desperate employment and fiscal conditions many people faced during the Great Depression, conditions created, in Chaplin's view, by the efficiencies of modern industrialization.
The movie stars Chaplin, Paulette Goddard, Henry Bergman, Stanley Sandford and Chester Conklin. It was written and directed by Chaplin.
Modern Times was one of the last silent films made, although it does include sound effects, music, singers, and voices coming from radios and loudspeakers. Towards the end of the film the Little Tramp's voice is heard for the first time as he ad-libs pseudo-French and Italian gibberish to the tune of Leo Daniderff's popular song, Je cherche aprés Titine.
Most of the film was shot at "silent speed", 18 frames per second, which when projected at "sound speed", 24 frames per second, makes the slapstick action appear even more frenetic.
The music score was composed by Chaplin himself. The romance theme was later given words and became better known as the song "Smile" and covered by such artists as Judy Garland, Liberace, Nat King Cole, and Michael Jackson.
The film has been deemed "culturally significant" by the Library of Congress and selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry. Its depiction of Chaplin working frantically to keep up with an assembly line has inspired later comedy routines including Disney's Der Fuehrer's Face and an episode of I Love Lucy titled "Lucy in the Candy Factory."
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