Modern Times Background

Modern Times Background

Charlie Chaplin's Modern Times tells the story of Chaplin's iconic Little Tramp as he struggles to survive in a newly modernized world. Little Tramp works at a factory on an assembly line, but this new technology overwhelms him. In between stints in the factory, the Tramp is imprisoned due to various trials and tribulations. There, he becomes friends with a little orphan girl. Though the two are together and apart through parts of the film, they both struggle to live a new, modernized world.

Chaplin's intent was to make Modern Times his first "talkie" (a film where people talk), but after writing the films script and testing out some scenes with sound, he found that the film wouldn't be as impactful and alluring. The film, however, ended up being a silent film and was arguably better for being one.

Although not financially successful (it only made $1.4 million domestically on a $1.5 million budget), the film was a tremendous critical success. Often hailed as Chaplin's best film, Modern Times was inducted into United States Film Registry, indicating both its quality and cultural significance. It is also one of the few films to hold a 100% rating on film review aggregator site Rottentomatoes.com. Says Roger Ebert: "I go to a lot of movies, and I can't remember the last time I heard a paying audience actually applaud at the end of a film. But this one did."

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