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Charlie Chaplin - Modern Times [1936] [DVD]

Charles Chaplin , Paulette Goddard , Charles Chaplin    Universal, suitable for all   DVD
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)

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Product details

  • Actors: Charles Chaplin, Paulette Goddard, Henry Bergman, Tiny Sandford, Chester Conklin
  • Directors: Charles Chaplin
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: Italian, French, English
  • Subtitles: Italian
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 4:3 - 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Classification: U
  • Studio: Whv
  • DVD Release Date: 1 Jun 2006
  • Run Time: 85 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0000AISJQ
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 52,964 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)



Modern Times marks the last proper appearance of Charles Chaplin's iconic Little Tramp, and finds our hero struggling to make ends meet in the Depression of the 1930s. Along the way he takes up with a juvenile delinquent (actually 24-year-old Paulette Goddard) and plays a prison incident with "nose powder" for drug-induced laughs--both plot elements seeming quite innocent here, though both would provoke controversy today. Modern Times' most famous sequences portray the dehumanisation of factory labour to fine comic effect, balancing satire with slapstick to perfection in several superbly executed set-pieces.

While the film has sound-effects and musical score, speech is only presented through mechanical means, via a gramophone, or through wall-sized TVs far more futuristic than in those in HG Wells' Things to Come (also 1936)--it's an interesting footnote that the comic and the SF visionary were friends. Chaplin famously not being a fan of sound cinema acknowledges the need to move with the times, yet hilariously spoofs the exploitation of man and machine while doing so. Amid some great laughs, the political message comes though clearly: the boss is making a fortune while doing jigsaw puzzles in his luxury office, the workers are toiling ever harder on the production line for their pittance.

On the DVD: Modern Times is offered in the original 4:3 black and white with good mono sound evidencing just a little distortion and a very clean, clear picture with minimal grain to give away its age. Also included are French and Italian dubbed versions and a pointless and ineffective English Dolby Digital 5.1 version of the soundtrack. The disc features multiple subtitle options, including English for hard of hearing.

Disc Two begins with a six-minute introduction by David Robinson. Next comes a very worthwhile 26-minute documentary by Philippe Truffault, Chaplin Today, centred around a perceptive subtitled discussion between French filmmakers Luc & Jean-Pierre Dardenne. There are three trailers, beautifully reproduced posters, an eight-part photo gallery and one entertaining deleted scene, as well as Chaplin's "nonsense song" from the film in isolated form and in a "Karaoke" version. The Documents section begins with a silent 42-minute 1931 documentary/propaganda film, In the Machine Age made by the US Dept of Labor. Along similar but more entertaining lines is Symphony in F a 1940 colour film combining music, manufacturing footage and animation celebrating the Ford motor company, while also included is a sequence from the Liberace Show (1956) with the star performing the vocal version of "Smile", the theme from Modern Times. Demonstrating the truly universal appeal of Chaplin is a 1967 short For the First Time, documenting what happens when the people of the remote Baracoa mountains in Cuba see their first ever movie, Modern Times. This is a remarkable collection which does a great film justice. --Gary S Dalkin

Product Description

One of the happiest and most light-hearted of the Chaplin pictures. Man vs. machine! And the winner is every comedy fan when Charlie Chaplin’s Tramp confronts assembly line woes in this classic chosen in 1998 as one of the American Film Institute’s Top-100 American Films.

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 (Pauline 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.

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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
4.8 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars First Class 13 Nov 2006
By Se any
As a child growing up I had always dismissed Chaplin as being a division below other Black and White legends such as 'Laurel and Hardy' or 'Buster Keaton'. Somehow Chaplin never quite caught my imagination until one Saturday evening the BBC showed 'Modern Times' and I had the cobwebs of ignorance blown away in one fell swoop. I went on to watch the rest of the BBC's screenings over the following weeks and came to realise what a true genius Charlie was. Modern Times is visually brilliant, from the opening hilarity of the automatic food dispensing machine going wrong to other highlights such as his wrongful arrest and imprisonment (and accidentally taking cocaine) plus attempting to take a dip outside his little dream house, the comic timing is perfection. Over the years I've shown this film to a number of friends and I've yet to hear a negative remark. This is a masterclass in visual comedy, you will not be disappointed.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Still modern 24 Oct 2008
It's normal when reviewing Charlie Chaplin's films to apply the epithet `timeless.' `Modern Times' is a great example of this - though accused of luddism at the time for making a silent film in the infant age of talkies, Chaplin's masterful look at Fordism might take its context from the great depression, but has a universality in it's themes that transcends its setting. As such, it's a film that's easy to recommend to the modern viewer. Chaplin skewers mechanised industrialisation, shows the kind of empathy with the labour movement you would expect from the founder of United Artists, and highlights the brutality of the state when dealing with the poor and desperate. The physical comedy is performed with tremendous athleticism and skill, and is frequently undercut with a note of satire - for instance, the Little Tramp unable to prevent himself from continuing to perform the bolt-tightening movement he has been required to repeat ad infinitum whilst working on the production line. The set design of the factory, with it's vast, cog-driven machines that produce nothing, is striking. There is also a note of bitter satire directed towards the perceived requirement for dialogue in film - the film climaxes with Chaplin's long-awaited first vocal performance in a film. He sings nonsense and mimes the song's story. Chaplin is ably supported by Paulette Godard, who offers a feisty romantic interest for the Little Tramp. The film is a triumph, as relevant to our modern times as it was to Chaplin's, a genuinely funny work of slapstick with a bitter seam of black comedy running through it.

This two disc set presents the film on disc one, with the extras on disc two.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant. 22 April 2013
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
A classic comedy full of the usual Chaplin combination of humour and pathos. An incisive comment on social conditions of the time that could easily transpose to today. The film is accompanied by wonderful soundtrack composed by Charlie. A great classic and a must for fans.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Modern Times Charlie Chaplin 11 April 2013
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
I have known this film since childhood and viewed it in the cinema, quite a few times. The first time I saw it was in Nakuru, Kenya East Africa in the Odeon Cinema and I literally fell off my seat laughing.. My sides ached with laughter. I thought when I saw it after many years on the DVD that I purchased from you that my reaction would be different, but no Charlie Chaplin always comes up trumps. I also viewed it with a friend and we both let out screams of laughter. This is because "The Little Man" was and still is the greatest comic actor in time and the world, an actor full of talent in many different areas.This was the last time he was to play "the Little Man", so the film has a poignancy that is special and has social comments on the way people dealt with poverty. Charlie Chaplin's films usually had serious social comments
on society and politics and did it in a way that has and always will get its' audiences in stitches. Cynthia Allen McLaglen
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Farewell to the Tramp 24 Dec 2007
By Jay
For the last time Charlie Chaplin was the Tramp. Not for the last time, fortunately, he made a great movie. 'Modern Times' is one of his best and it still works today.

With hilarious and very famous sequences, sound used in a very special way, a great and very funny Chaplin performance, a good supporting cast including the beautiful Paulette Goddard and a great story that has tells really something this is a great silent movie. You will definitely smile constantly and have some great laughs as well.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Charlie Chaplin’s silent masterpiece “Modern Times” is available as a stand-alone on BLU RAY in the UK and as part of a tasty Box Set. And then there’s the much sought-after Criterion release in America. But therein lies a problem for UK and European buyers…

That US issue (no matter how desirable) is REGION-A LOCKED - so it WILL NOT PLAY on most UK Blu Ray players unless they're chipped to play 'all' regions (which the vast majority aren't). Don’t confuse BLU RAY players that have multi-region capability on the 'DVD' front – that won’t help.

The UK releases use the same restored elements – so best plum for them…
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great! 10 Mar 2013
By franca
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
A great film, very good quality dvd. Certainly a masterpiece no one should miss! Makes you laugh and cry at the same time.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting.....
I hadn't seen any of Chaplin's output for years - certainly nothing after about 1925, so approached this with a bit of trepidation. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Inflective Verb
5.0 out of 5 stars Modern times
Fantastic. Charlie Chaplin number one comedian of all time, modern trash like mr bean, monty python & jack black, the two ronnies, morecambe & wise etc doesn't compare
Published 7 months ago by Taj
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful and funny
A lovely and very funny film as good as the Kid and the Gold Rush that in my view are by far Chaplin's best.
Published 8 months ago by Tranquillity
2.0 out of 5 stars Overrated
In my view Chaplin is extremely overrated. He was a one-trick pony with only one character who has a well-defined silly walk. Read more
Published 13 months ago by J. A. Garlick
5.0 out of 5 stars Charlie
Bought for my daughter for Christmas, she asked specifically for this and the gold rush another of Charlie chaplains movies
Published 14 months ago by mansi
5.0 out of 5 stars Chaplin
My favourite Charlie Chaplin movie, just classic. Watched it over the Christmas and we had a good laugh. DVD arrived quickly
Published on 20 Jan 2012 by mirabella
5.0 out of 5 stars A marvel in comedy!
Modern Times is amazing! The film has a memborable score and a very funny scene were The Tramp is in jail. Read more
Published on 1 July 2011 by Turloch Meehan
5.0 out of 5 stars Chaplin's Modern Times
Fantastic. Delivery was quick, and the item arrived safely.
As for the DVD itself, Charlie Chaplin's Modern Times is a great addition to anyone who loves film and television! Read more
Published on 24 Jun 2011 by Jharaiz
5.0 out of 5 stars Genius
My first glimpse of Chaplin and I became an instant fan. Not only is it consistently hilarious but it provides a more serious social insight of that particular time. Read more
Published on 3 April 2011 by Melissa
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