Awf Hand wrote:
“Modern Times” (1936)
While working in what is possibly the fastest paced factory in the world, Charlie Chaplin’s “Little Tramp” character experiences the indignation of a “feeding machine” followed by a most amusing nervous breakdown. He finds himself out of a job and on the streets. Following a misunderstanding in which he finds himself the leader of a Communist parade, he soon finds himself in jail –but not for long. In another part of town, “the Gamin” (Paulette Goddard) struggles to survive and feed her siblings and unemployed father. The father dies, which now leaves Gamin homeless, starving and wanted for vagrancy. A stolen loaf of bread unites Tramp and Gamin, and never before have the words ‘for richer or for poorer, for better or for worse, in good times and in bad’ better exemplified the start of a couple’s life together. Chaplin is his usual affable self. Goddard radiates. There was not a scene that she was in where I didn’t find myself captivated by her eyes and her sometimes joyous, sometimes wicked smile. Made as a “silent” picture (during the ‘talkie’ age), there were segments of “talkie” that permeated some early scenes. I wasn’t sure what to make of that. No matter. The physicality of Chaplin makes his performance. There’s little need for dialogue, and we don’t miss it. I enjoyed this film as much or more than “City Lights”, and found Goddard as leading lady fantastic.
Awf Hand gives 4 out of 4 stars. If someone asks me for a “silent” film recommendation, this will be my first offering.