In the film ‘Modern Times’ written and directed by Charlie Chaplin, he attempts to keep up with the ever changing and improving modern, industrial society. The machine in the film is a new invention and concept, one that is unfamiliar to the workers. Being told that we were going to watch a Charlie Chaplin movie made me excited. I have never seen any of his films so I did not know what to expect. Seeing the movie title as “Modern Times”, however, made me think that the film is about the lives of the people during the Great Depression. “Modern Times” boasts Chaplin’s finest music score. His most recognizable and commercially viable song, ³Smile,´ emerged from a melody used by him in Modern Times.´ ³Smile, with a completed struc-ture and lyrics, was created to promote the reissue “Modern Times” in ³Smile is still considered a popular standard today. Charlie Chaplins Modern Times Essay Sample. Response 1Charlie Chaplin’s Modern Times () Silent films were of huge proportion in the early ’s. It wasn’t until the advent of sound in , with the production of “The Jazz Singer” that would indefinitely change the ever-expanding landscape of cinema. Modern Times – Reflection The movie Modern Times by Charles Chaplin is a critique of the social structure of his time. This prominent critic is one of Chaplin most famous work and can be .
- Charlie Chaplin – Modern Times – the Machine
- Modern Times
- Charlie Chaplin’s Modern Times Essay
- Charlie Chaplins Modern Times Essay Sample
- Chaplin’s Modern Times Analysis Essay Sample
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It could not be farther from the truth that action speaks louder than words when it comes to him. Whereas his films lacked in speech, he overcompensated by being brilliantly funny. And so his legacy grows stronger each passing day and every successive generation is mesmerized by the comic genius that was Charlie Chaplin.
In modern times, Charlie Chaplin is indifferent to change both in the film industry and in the economic landscape of the American society. He was particularly not thrilled with the concept of talkies in movies, as he believed talkies were a threat to the comical nature of soundless film.
Charlie Chaplin – Modern Times – the Machine
Although the first talkie movie, The Jazz Singer, had been created less than a decade before this movie, he had not yet adopted the concept. It was therefore the first time he used sound in film, which proved to be very successful and made Modern Times one of the best movies in film history. Shot in , during the great depression in America, Chaplin used this movie to highlight the plight of average Americans during the depression era. As the number of jobless people ballooned, the number of jobs reduced significantly and the prospects of getting jobs were next to none.
To add to the issue of joblessness, companies were reverting to technology, as a way of cutting costs and increasing taxes.
From the onset of the movie, we can see that Chaplin pokes fun at the capitalist system and even likens humans going to work to sheep.
As the movie begins, there is a herd of sheep crowding together. The scene suddenly switches to a large group of workers exiting the subway and rushing into the factory, where the president of the Electro-Steel Corp is in a serene office reading the paper. He inspects his workers through a closed circuit television set and is constantly ordering Section 5, where The Tramp is located, to speed up the assembling process.
In this scene Chaplin arouses the notion that capitalism has less regard for human life. They are pushed to work at the speed of machines, which is detrimental to humans.
Just like sheep, who have no form of control over their affairs, so do common people in a capitalist system. They wake up early in the morning, rush to work for the rest of the day and go home in the evening. They spend most of their lives building wealth for the few at the top, while them the majority wallow in poverty. Eventually when the pressure becomes too much for workers, errors and accidents are bound to occur, which may have dire consequences on them.
This is vividly captured by Tramp who gets pulled into the wheels of a machine. When he is pulled out, he goes through what may be considered professional hazard. He is subsequently taken to a mental hospital. Once the system realizes that a worker is unfit for the strenuous work, it throws him out like the Tramp, who is relieved of his services by the company after his mental breakdown. As the working conditions become too much to bare, the workers will eventually down their tools and take to the streets to revolt.
The workers in this movie do exactly that, where the Tramp is arrested by the police when they mistakenly take him to be the leader of the protest. While the sole responsibility of the police is to protect the rights of people, they are used by the same system that has no regards for the rights of its workers. Technology, which is one of the proponents of capitalism, is attributed for the mass unemployment in Modern Times.
The situation is so terrible that Tramp does not want to leave the jailhouse, as he is assured of three meals a day and a place to live. Gamin played by Paulette Goddard is forced to steal to support her father, two sisters and also poor children.
Charlie Chaplin’s Modern Times Essay
It is through her stealing expeditions that she meets Tramp. Soon the two lovebirds are entangled in a series of mishaps in order to survive the turbulent economic times of the great depression.
The concept of a good life was foreign to people born during the great depression, which lasted a decade. When Tramp and Gamin try to visualize what good life should be, they misrepresent everything.
They assume that milk will be brought to their doorsteps by a cow and that grapes would grow on their doorway. Although these are exaggerated depictions of what normal life would be like, they push Tramp to work even harder to pursue them. Luckily, he gets a job as a watchman, thanks to a reference letter from the sheriff. However, the pay is not sufficient enough to sustain him and Gamin and they are forced to eat and seek shelter at night in the department store, where he is working.
Things go well until three men show up to rob the place. Although we can survive without machines, it becomes apparent in this movie that machines cannot work without us. It may be assumed that the factory was closed after the workers revolted.
Even after the factory was closed the first time, the conditions have not yet improved to attract a better workforce.
Charlie Chaplins Modern Times Essay Sample
However, the situation is so bad that Chaplin goes back to the same deplorable conditions in the factory to earn a living. Unfortunately, he is sent back to jail after he accidentally knocks a police officer with a brick on the head. It was a special occasion that Chaplin christened with a funny song that consisted of creative nonsense and multi-lingual improvisations, after he forgot the lyrics.
Charlie Chaplin was opposed to the idea of sound because of the limiting nature of language. His films had a universal appeal and communicated well without the use of voice. As the situation kept getting worse and the police constantly frustrating their efforts to survive, Chaplin ends this movie with a message of hope.
And while Gamin is pessimistic about their paths, Chaplin is sure that everything is possible with faith and sheer will to achieve. With his growing popularity at the time, Chaplin knew his influential position and took it upon himself to critic anything that he thought undermined the divine nature of human beings.
Chaplin’s Modern Times Analysis Essay Sample
While he approached every critical issue with a comedic approach, everyone knew what he meant. Modern Times is therefore one such statement. Influenced by his trip to Ford Motors Company in the s, he grew quite concerned by the lack of regard for human lives by the capitalistic system that prides itself in the size of the profits. He was particularly afraid of the power and wealth wielded by the few at the top, who controlled everything including humans, whom he compares to sheep in this system.
Despite the challenges he goes through in the film, he is still optimistic that nothing lasts forever. And true to his words, or rather his actions, the Great Depression eventually ended in Modern Times — Film Studies Read next: