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Modern Times (Criterion Collection)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Charles Chaplin, Paulette Goddard
  • Directors: Charles Chaplin
  • Format: Black & White, Full Screen, Special Edition, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (US and Canada This DVD will probably NOT be viewable in other countries. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • MPAA Rating: UNRATED
  • Studio: Criterion
  • Release Date: Nov. 16 2010
  • Run Time: 87 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B003ZYU3TG
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #18,613 in DVD (See Top 100 in DVD)

Product Description

Product Description

Modern Times, Charlie Chaplin's last outing as the Little Tramp, puts the iconic character to work as a giddily inept factory employee who becomes smitten with a gorgeous gamine (Paulette Goddard). With its barrage of unforgettable gags and sly commentary on class struggle during the Great Depression, Modern Times - though made almost a decade into the talkie era and containing moments of sound (even song!) - is a timeless showcase of Chaplin's untouchable genius as a director of silent comedy.

- New, restored high-definition digital transfer
- New audio commentary by Chaplin biographer David Robinson
- Two new visual essays, by Chaplin historians John Bengtson and Jeffrey Vance
- New program on the film's visual and sound effects, with experts Craig Barron and Ben Burtt
- Interview from 1992 with Modern Times music arranger David Raksin
- Chaplin Today: "Modern Times" (2004), a half-hour program with filmmakers Luc and Jean-Pierre Dardenne
- Two segments removed from the film
- Three theatrical trailers
- All at Sea (1933), a home movie by Alistair Cooke featuring Charlie Chaplin, Paulette Goddard, and Cooke, plus a new score by Donald Sosin and a new interview with Cooke's daughter, Susan Cooke Kittredge
- The Rink (1916), a Chaplin two-reeler highlighting his skill on wheels
- For the First Time (1967), a Cuban documentary short about a projectionist who shows Modern Times to first-time moviegoers
- And More!
- PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by film critic Saul Austerlitz and a piece by film scholar Lisa Stein that includes excerpts from Chaplin's writing about his travels in 1931 and 1932

Charlie Chaplin is in glorious form in this legendary satire of the mechanized world. As a factory worker driven bonkers by the soulless momentum of work, Chaplin executes a series of slapstick routines around machines, including a memorable encounter with an automatic feeding apparatus. The pantomime is triumphant, but Chaplin also draws a lively relationship between the Tramp and a street gamine. She's played by Paulette Goddard, then Chaplin's wife and probably his best leading lady (here and in The Great Dictator). The film's theme gave the increasingly ambitious writer-director a chance to speak out about social issues, as well as indulging in the bittersweet quality of pathos that critics were already calling "Chaplinesque." In 1936, Chaplin was still holding out against spoken dialogue in films, but he did use a synchronized soundtrack of sound effects and his own music, a score that includes one of his most famous melodies, "Smile." And late in the film, Chaplin actually does speak--albeit in a garbled gibberish song, a rebuke to modern times in talking pictures. --Robert Horton --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5 stars
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Most helpful customer reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Scamp Lumm on June 30 2004
Format: DVD
Caught between the cog wheels???
If you are suffering from work woes, this film is a great one to watch. A co-worker at my last job recommended this film to me. We worked for one of those genome companies, some of us working in a production capacity, doing the same repetitive tasks ad nauseum. The, (in real life), multi-talented Chaplin in this film is a simple-minded factory worker who spends his day going through the same motions over and over again. He does get lunch breaks, but of course his day at work is not without its mishaps. Funny that a 70 year old film about modern times is still not dated.
This film was made in 1936 during the Great Depression, a time when money and bread were scarce, many people feeling the effects. The story line for this movie reveals some of these circumstances, but as Chaplin lives through them, as when he is forced to drink rum bursting out of casks shot by robbers of a department store, one of whom was a previous co-factoryworker, you can't help but laugh, and as the song says, 'just smile'.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By D. Mok on July 29 2003
Format: DVD
It helps that Modern Times is one of Chaplin's best films, period, running a close second behind City Lights (I hope that's next on the re-release list). And happily, unlike The Gold Rush, which was ruined by awful sound choices, the Modern Times DVD offers a clean transfer of the film with all the beloved original elements intact as far as I could see and hear, plus a host of extras.
The film itself is the most briskly paced of Chaplin's feature-length films. And his writing is sharp, unhindered by the sermonizing which permeates his last works. The dilemma facing our Little Tramp this time is something all of us can relate to: For the first time, we see him thinking ahead, wanting to have a future, to form a family, and working towards that end. Chaplin's physical-comedy skills are at their peak: Witness the extended takes of the rollerskate scene, and the factory assembly line. Even if the 18fps (sometimes 16fps) film speed made everything look faster than it really was, it's still impressive physical co-ordination requiring flawless execution, since Chaplin rarely edits using coverage.
In Modern Times we see one of the first truly well-rounded Chaplin heroines. The radiant Paulette Goddard was Chaplin's best leading lady, her high spirits and lively presence being a much better foil for Chaplin than the starry-eyed icons of perfection that were Georgia Hale, Edna Purviance, or Virginia Cherrill. She just has more star quality and brings a quirkier, more animated personality to Chaplin's films, balancing them nicely.
And the gags -- some of the best in the Chaplin canon.
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Format: DVD
Modern times was a smart comedy in the previous years to WW2.
Charlot made raptures images in several sequences.
Our unlucky or disadapted little man , definitively wasn{t made for working with the industrial process. This kinetic introduction in the middle of the complex mecahnism of machine systems is a issue to develop unforgettable laughable situations. The sense of alienation in front the no ending belt , causes in him an insane loss of the reality. And the machine who feeds you without waste of time for your employers is a classic.
Obviously Charlot inspired himself in Metropolis, the bitter nightmare of Fritz Lang from 1927. (Watch for instance for the employer who works around the machine control) .
So our beloved anti hero goes out from this the factory to the hospital and over and over he tries to get a job but he fails , by one reason or another.
In the middle of the film will appear a deep inspiration. The eternally beauty Paulette Godard represents exactly that weird mix teenager-woman who will work out as link for him later.
He is a guy with good feelings. He acts always as humanity benefactor but the long arm of the fate runs behind him and the results are not succesful.
The sequences in the dinner hall with the chicken that never comes to the impatient client is a masterpiece. Literally it's a funny coreography dance in the purest sense of the word.
Smile ; no matter what's wrong with you. We'll keep ahead , overcoming all the possible obstacles.
A remarkable film and one of the landmark pictures of this timeless genius.
Haven't you seen it? Make yourself a favour and buy it as a gift for you or your wife or fiancee or kids. This film will never dissapoint you , at least in the next three hundred years.
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Format: DVD
Until I saw "Modern Times" I only knew Chaplin from clips and impressions rather than from his films. I didn't see the talent. I understood that he parlayed his popularity into power and control over his work and that he made a huge contribution to American cinema. But I found Chaplin the performer, cloying and sentimental.
After watching "Modern Times" however, I understand why he is one of the great performing talents of the 20th century. The film is nearly silent and mostly a series of comedic set-pieces, each one a virtuoso display of Chaplin's boundless talent.
What struck me most in watching Chaplin was both his ability to come up with a routine; strapped to an eating machine, skating blindfolded in a department store and amusing hardened diners as a dancing waiter and executing the concept with grace, humanity and humor. It is also a great testament to his acting that we never question Chaplin's "little tramp" an average, slightly ludicrous character who has amazing talent that deeply undercuts his character's supposed mediocrity.
My other surprise was how effective and nuanced the satire is in "Modern Times." Chaplin's little tramp is the perfect protagonist in a story about the perils of automation and technology. The little tramp is never defeated and always optimistic. He is like a cartoon character in that each travail is new and he doesn't carry with him the baggage from the previous experience. But he is also terribly human; frail, self absorbed, eccentric and resilient so that we the audience don't feel the oppressive weight that automation and technology has upon the working person. Without a strong, human protagonist, the attack against modern society could seem more global and distancing. Instead we witness the pain from an individual perspective that connects to our own lives.
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