- Charles Chaplin
- Reviewed by
- Gon Curiel a.k.a. Groucho
- Review date
- Tuesday, January 16, 2001
I’m not saying that I necessarily consider it my favorite Chaplin. I love The Gold Rush and City Lights very much too, only I think Modern Times is even smarter, if a little more pretentious.
In his last silent, Charles Chaplin smartly criticizes the modern machine era, along with the talkies. He plays the tramp for the very last time, in one of his greatest adventures.
As a factory worker, he loses his mind due to the stress produced by the awfully repetitive work he has to do. Spanning weeks and months, he goes to a mental institution, then to jail because of a confusion, and so on.
The gamin (Paulette Goddard) is a young girl with an attitude. She’s poor but won’t follow the system. By chance, she meets the factory worker, and they become kind of partners in life. The help and love they give each other is heartbreaking. Their story is compelling.
This movie contains many of Chaplin’s best scenes (including the skating on the edge and the finale), probably his greatest music score (including the unforgettable “Smile” theme) and also an unforgettable performance by Goddard, Chaplin’s then-wife.
Oh, and we hear the little tramp’s voice for the first time! In a surprisingly smart scene which is probably the greatest criticism to talkies ever made by Chaplin, and an enjoyable incursion to talkies, ironically.
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