Playing a factory worker struggling to survive in an unidentified industrialized society, Charlie Chaplin created in “Modern Times” one of the most poignant and elaborate critiques of mass production and the mechanization of 20th-century life.
“Modern Times” marked the last screen appearance of the Little Tramp–the character which had brought Charles Chaplin world fame, and who still remains the most universally recognized fictional image of a human being in the history of art.
The world from which the Tramp took his farewell was very different from that into which he had been born before the First World War. Then he had shared and symbolized the hardships of all the underprivileged of a world emerging from the 19th century. “Modern Times” found him facing very different predicaments in the aftermath of the Great Depression, when mass unemployment coincided with the massive rise of industrial automation.
A socially-aware artist, Chaplin was preoccupied with the economic problems of the new age. In 1931, he left Hollywood, embarking on a long world tour. In Europe, he was disturbed to see the rise of nationalism and the social effects of the Depression, of unemployment and of automation. He read books on economic theory and devised his own Economic Solution –an intelligent exercise in utopian idealism, based on a more equitable distribution not just of wealth but of work.
In the movie, as the hapless Tramp executes some of his most famous slapstick routines, he accidentally ends up in the middle of a communist rally and falls in love with a street waif played by Chaplin’s then real-life partner Paulette Goddard.
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Charles Chaplin – FACTORY WORKER
Paulette Goddard – GAMINE
Henry Bergman – CAFÉ OWNER
Stanley J. ('Tiny') Sandford – BIG BILL / WORKER
Chester Conklin – MECHANIC
Hank Mann – BURGLAR
Louis Natheaux – BURGLAR
Stanley Blystone – SHERIFF COULER
Allan Garcia – COMPANY BOSS
Sam Stein – FOREMAN
Juana Sutton – WOMAN WITH BUTTONED DRESS
Jack Low – WORKER
Walter James – WORKER
Dick Alexander – CONVICT
Dr Cecil Reynolds – PRISON CHAPLAIN
Myra McKinney – CHAPLAIN‘ S WIFE
Lloyd Ingraham – PRISON GOVERNOR
Heinie Conklin – WORKER
John Rand, Murdoch McQuarrie – CONVICTS
Director/Producer/Writer – CHARLES CHAPLIN
Assistant Directors – CARTER DE HAVEN, HENRY BERGMAN
Photography – ROLAND TOTHEROH, IRA MORGAN
Art Directors – CHARLES D. HALL, RUSSELL SPENCER
Music – CHARLES CHAPLIN
Arrangers – EDWARD POWELL, DAVID RAKSIN
Musical Director – ALFRED NEWMAN
Musical themes used in addition to original compositions: 'Halleluiah, I'm a
Bum', 'Prisoners' Song' (C. Massey), 'How Dry Am I?, 'In the Evening By the
Moonlight' (Bland), Je cherche après Titine' (Duncan and Daniderff)
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Running Time: 87 Minutes