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Modern Times Details

FULL SYNOPSIS

This episodic satire of the Machine Age is considered Charles Chaplin's last "silent" film, although Chaplin uses sound, vocal, and musical effects throughout. Chaplin stars as an assembly-line worker driven insane by the monotony of his job. After a long spell in an asylum, he searches for work, only to be mistakenly arrested as a Red agitator. Released after foiling a prison break, Chaplin makes the acquaintance of orphaned gamine (Paulette Goddard) and becomes her friend and protector. He takes on several new jobs for her benefit, but every job ends with a quick dismissal and yet another jail term. During one of his incarcerations, she is hired to dance at a nightclub and arranges for him to be hired there as a singing waiter. He proves an enormous success, but they are both forced to flee their jobs when the orphanage officials show up to claim the girl. Dispirited, she moans, "What's the use of trying?" But the ever-resourceful Chaplin tells her to never say die, and our last image is of Chaplin and The Gamine strolling down a California highway towards new adventures. The plotline of Modern Times is as loosely constructed as any of Chaplin's pre-1915 short subjects, permitting ample space for several of the comedian's most memorable routines: the "automated feeding machine," a nocturnal roller-skating episode, and Chaplin's double-talk song rendition in the nightclub sequence. In addition to producing, directing, writing, and starring in Modern Times, Chaplin also composed its theme song, Smile, which would later be adopted as Jerry Lewis' signature tune. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

  • Release date:February 11, 1936

Cast

Charles Chaplin
as Worker
Paulette Goddard
as Gamine
Henry Bergman
as Cafe Owner
Chester Conklin
as Mechanic
Hank Mann
as Burglar
Louis Natheaux
as Burglar
Allan Garcia
as President of a Steel Corporation
Richard Alexander
as Convict
Jack Low
as Worker
Norman Ainsley
Bobby Barber
as Worker
Stanley Blystone
as Sheriff Couler
Gloria de Haven
as Gamin's Sister
Chuck Hamilton
as Worker
Lloyd Ingraham
as Prison Governor
Walter James
as Assembly Line Foreman
Edward J. Le Saint
as Sheriff Conlon
Wilfred Lucas
as Juvenile Officer
Murdock MacQuarrie
as J. Widdecombe Biddle
Fred Malatesta
as Waiter
Mira McKinney
as Minister's Wife
Frank Moran
as Convict
James C. Morton
as Assembly Worker
Ted Oliver
as Biddle's assistant
Sammy Stein
as Turbine Operator
Charles "Heinie" Conklin
as Workman
Frank S. Hagney
as Shipbuilder
Wilfred Lucas
as Juvenile Officer
Mira McKinney
as Minister's Wife
Richard Alexander
as Convict
Gloria de Haven
as Gamin's Sister
Frank Moran
as Convict
Edward J. Le Saint
as Sheriff Conlon
Murdock MacQuarrie
as J. Widdecombe Biddle
Lloyd Ingraham
as Prison Governor
Charles "Heinie" Conklin
as Workman
Bobby Barber
as Worker
Walter James
as Assembly Line Foreman
James C. Morton
as Assembly Worker
Sammy Stein
as Turbine Operator
Fred Malatesta
as Waiter
Stanley Blystone
as Sheriff Couler
Ted Oliver
as Biddle's assistant
Chuck Hamilton
as Worker
Jack Low
as Worker

Crew

Charles Chaplin
Director
Charles Chaplin
Producer
Charles Chaplin
Screenwriter
Ira Morgan
Cinematographer
Alfred Newman
Musical Direction/Supervision
Alfred Newman
Composer (Music Score)
David Raksin
Musical Arrangement
Charles Chaplin
Composer (Music Score)
Charles Hall
Production Designer
Henry Bergman
First Assistant Director
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