Modern Times (film)
From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
- In Modern Times (1936), the still-silent Tramp, with his familiar small Derby hat ... In one of the film's great opening scenes, the conveyor belt sequence."
Modern Times is a 1936 comedy film by Charlie Chaplin that has his famous Little Tramp character struggling to survive in the modern, industrialized world. The film is a comment on the desperate employment and fiscal conditions many people faced during the Great Depression, conditions created, in Chaplin's view, by the efficiencies of modern industrialization. The movie stars Chaplin, Paulette Goddard, Henry Bergman, Stanley Sandford and Chester Conklin. It was written and directed by Chaplin, and marked the final screen appearance of the iconic Tramp character.
The French film owners of René Clair's A nous la liberté created controversy after the release of Charlie Chaplin's Modern Times, which bore some similarities to this film, such as the conveyor belt gags. In the end, instead of going to court, they reached a settlement, but the whole controversy took around a decade. Chaplin maintained that he had never seen the film, as did everyone else at the studio. René Clair himself was never a part of the case and was actually quite embarrassed by it, since he had great admiration for Chaplin and had always maintained that they were all in debt to him, and any inspiration Chaplin might have gotten from his film would be an honor for him. A speculation over this case was that it was a conspiracy from Nazi Germany to discredit Chaplin; À Nous la Liberté's production company, Tobis, was German. It is notable that the out-of-court settlement was reached only after the end of World War II.