The Little Tramp punches in and wigs out inside a factory where gizmos like an employee feeding machine may someday make the lunch hour last just 15 minutes. Bounced into the ranks of the unemployed, he teams with a street waif (Paulette Goddard) to pursue bliss and a paycheck, finding misadventures as a roller-skating night watchman, a singing waiter whose hilarious song is gibberish, a jailbird and more. In the end, as tramp and waif walk arm in arm into an insecure future we know they've found neither bliss nor a paycheck but, more importantly, each other. The times and satire remain timeless in 'Modern Times'.
This is generally a silent comedy though there are a few written story board type conversations and some speech when synchronisation is not critical such as the radio. There is a scene when Chaplin accidentally finds some cocaine and thinking it is a food additive rubs it on his gums and then knocks unconscious some prison inmates in a drug fuelled frenzy. I don't think that the censor board would be keen on that now. The slap stick is good, the romance a bit clichéd, the comedy mediocre.
'Chaplin Today - Modern Times': a documentary by Philippe Truffault with the participation of Luc and Jean-Pierre Dardenne (26 mins)
Introduction by David Robinson: Chaplin's biographer sets the film in its historical and cinematic context (6 mins)
Deleted Scenes: Charlie's nonsense song in its complete version, and more! (5 mins)
Karaoke: the mystery of Charlie's nonsense song solved in its karaoke version (3 mins)
'Smile' by Liberace (1956): Chaplin's most famous theme song from 'Modern Times', sung by Liberace (4 mins)
'Behind the Scenes in the Machine Age (1931): U.S. government-sponsored educational film: a hymn to assembly line labour in the United States in the 1930's (42 mins)
'Symphony in F' (1940): a ponderous musical film commissioned by Ford whose assembly line inspired 'Modern Times' (9 mins)
'Por Primera Vez/For the First Time' (1967): a Cuban documentary short on the reaction of peasants while watching their first movie, thanks to a travelling projectionist showing 'Modern Times' (10 mins)
Photo Gallery: 250 Production Stills, Deleted Scenes and Preparatory Sketches
Scenes from the films in the Chaplin Collection (23 mins)