Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Sight & Sound Challenge: Modern Times (1936)

Film: Modern Times (102/250) 
First Time/Rewatch: Rewatch

Charlie Chaplin is all over Sight and Sound's top 250. Four of his films made the list, and while none of them were first viewings for me, it had been a number of years since I'd watched some of them and I was eager to revisit. I remembered a few key scenes from Modern Times: the trip through the twirling funhouse of gears, the Tramp rollerskating blindfolded by the edge of a huge hole in the floor, the feeding machine (my favorite part, I was crying from laughing so hard), and of course that ending. I had forgotten about the little Tramp accidentally leading a communist demonstration, his accidental "heroism" in stopping a prison break, and his tender interactions with Paulette Goddard's "gamin" character. This was Chaplin's first political film and it's a fitting precursor to his later film The Great Dictator (my personal favorite of Chaplin's). It manages to make a strong statement about the impact of industrial society while simultaneously being timeless and hilarious. And that ending, still so full of hope as we watch the Little Tramp and the Gamin walk down that road for the last time, while "Smile" plays...

For your enjoyment, here's my favorite scene:

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