Good Essay On “Modern Times” By Charlie Chaplin

Type of paper: Essay

Topic: Cinema, Vehicles, Machine, Charlie Chaplin, Character, Movies, Workplace, Audience

Pages: 3

Words: 825

Published: 2021/02/11

Shot in 1936, “Modern Times” is a comedy written and directed by Charlie Chaplin. Here, the world famous comedian stars in his typical character, namely the Little Tramp – winsome and gentlemanlike character who the audience completely fell in love with. The film depicts the “Little Fellow” trying to survive in the industrialized world. Today, “Modern Times” is preserved in the United States National Film Registry; it is a classic of the genre, and even the contemporary audience still enjoys watching this movie.
In “Modern Times”, Charlie Chaplin aimed to convey the atmosphere of the Great Depression when people were desperate about unemployment. The movie shows that the hard work on the factory is really appreciated in spite of the nervous breakdown one risks to suffer (as in the case of the main character). People are poor – they steal and rob because they are hungry. The prisons are overcrowded; people have nowhere to live. The disorders caused by the communist demonstrations contribute to the complete chaos in the city. The main character goes through numerous difficult situations which he solves with humor and a smile on his face.
The audience gets a mixed feeling watching all the poverty and hopelessness on the streets and the funny Charlie Chaplin in his role with an elastic temperament. This comedian character is a contrary to his environment because it seems like his good manners do not always fit in the situation he finds himself in. He always finds a way out and this is exactly what entertains the audience – his staying in prison, guarding a department store, waiting tables, singing and dancing. Whatever he does, the audience cannot stop laughing.
In the beginning of the movie, there is one vignette worth of particular attention – the one that demonstrates the modern feeding machine. Being designed specifically for making the factory workers even more productive, the machine was tested on the main character – he was force-fed and did not really enjoy it because the machine did not work well. It is fun for the audience to watch the scene but the attentive spectator might pay attention that this is actually humiliating – the worker must take his time during the break and eat by himself. Charlie Chaplin probably wanted to show that the technical progress sometimes does nothing but harm. So the context of the scene must be Chaplin’s negative attitude towards the industrial society.
Without explicitly stating his ideas, Charlie Chaplin is trying to convey his point of view by the usage of this feeding machine – it represents the extremely fast development of the mechanized world where the efficiency is the only thing that bothers the heads of the companies. Aspiration for efficiency and productivity becomes so absurd and fanatic that it takes the form of dehumanization. The workers are considered only as a supplement to the automatic equipment who need to adapt to it and become automatic, too. “Modern Times” is a first film by Charlie Chaplin where he overtly shows his attitude to politics.
Obviously, the workers on an assembly line are demanded to work in sync which totally reminds of the machine – using the main character as an example, such type of work can drive a person crazy. But there is no place for humanity when dealing with money. The ruthless head of the company only speeds up the line so that the workers could be more efficient. The work at the factory reflects the regime of the depicted era – the society’s upper class was making money while all the rest of the people were left to survive pennies on the dollar.
In “Modern Times”, the feeding machine vignette is particularly memorable because it is one of the most humorous episodes in the movie. The idea of the feeding machine for an adult male is already hilarious. Why would a person refuse oneself to take food wide and handsome high? The process of eating is not only about satisfying the needs of the organism, but also relaxing and deflecting attention away from the hard work. What we see in the vignette is scaring equipment that puts food into the mouth of its victim forcefully. Abstracting from the idea that it is horrible, the whole process is very funny especially due to the fact that it is Charlie Chaplin that is tested. At first, the audience is surprised at the sight of the feeding machine, but it starts to cack oneself laughing when the machine does not work as promised – the corn moves so fast, it seems to almost kick Chaplin’s teeth in; the plate spits the soup all over his chest; the cake is spread all over his face; and, finally, the sponge intended for wiping the face literally punches the poor factory worker. When the meal is over, the character looks exhausted and frustrated. The irony here is that the unproved program may turn the success into disaster.
When I watched the feeding machine vignette I was more horrified than actually laughed. Today, in the era of fighting for the human rights, such nonsense would become a real scandal. The worker was forcefully tested – nobody asked his opinion and in the end, nobody was interested if he was alright. So I found the scene not really funny but I could not but admit the genius acting by Charlie Chaplin.
The whole movie seemed very interesting to me – I liked its dynamics and enjoyed a lot of funny moments. I was surprised to realize that the silent movie kept me on the edge of the seat, and that the gap of a hundred years did not prevent the film to be worthy even today. I was also surprised that such an old movie proposed such a high quality – all the equipment shown in the motion picture impressed me much. Probably, nothing was new to me in “Modern Times” because I watched so many films with Charlie Chaplin and I was charmed by his character long ago. Most of all, I liked the scene of his singing debut – I think it is the best scene in the movie demonstrating his amazing comic talent.

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"Good Essay On “Modern Times” By Charlie Chaplin," Free Essay Examples -, 11-Feb-2021. [Online]. Available: [Accessed: 19-Jun-2024].
Good Essay On “Modern Times” By Charlie Chaplin. Free Essay Examples - Published Feb 11, 2021. Accessed June 19, 2024.

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