Modern Times By Charlie Chaplin Essay

Modern Times By Charlie Chaplin Essay

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Modern Times. Directed by Charlie Chaplin. 1936. New York: Criterion Collection, 2010. DVD.

The film “Modern Times,” directed by Charlie Chaplin, is set in the mid nineteen thirties. This time frame places the characters in the middle of the Great Depression and the industrial revolution. The film depicts the lifestyle and quality of living for people in this era by showing a factory worker who cannot take the monotony of working on an assembly line. The film follows the factory worker through many of his adventures throughout the film. The film’s main stars are Charlie Chaplin and Paulette Goddard.
The timing of this film was a significant factor in the story line. In the middle of the Great Depression unemployment and poverty were a major problem. People would deal with poor working conditions just to have a job. The factory worker would slave on an assembly line for low wages just to put food on the table. However, the factory workers were not the only people struggling during the Great Depression. The 1930’s was a difficult decade for all social classes, full of unemployment, poverty, and poor working conditions.
During this difficult decade, many homes were foreclosed on, and farmers and small business people were unable to sell their products and therefore unable to pay their debts. In the film, the main characters struggle to maintain employment and move from location to location. Both the main characters steal food to survive and find shelter in a dilapidated home known as a shanty.


The film represents characters during the Great Depression as being under a severe economic hardship, which is exactly what the director is trying to communicate. During this time the national unemployment rate approached 25 percent. Th...


... middle of paper ...


...ted the public’s political insecurities when the main character is arrested for “participating” in a communist protest.
My reasoning for not recommending this film is mainly because this film is very difficult to follow the first time through. There are endless ways in which different scenes can be interpreted. This is partially due to no words being spoken and also due to overly blended attempts at comedy. Had I not previously studied this material, I would not have gained any educational value from this film. Having studied the material prior to watching the film, I was merely able to recognize things I learned while studying the material. The combined effects of no words and 1930’s comedy make this film have very little recreational value. As for educational value, there are better ways to learn the material, thus I would not recommend this film.
Dustin Pritchard

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