5 Assignment 7


% Alina completed

For my formal analysis I focused on the short sequence involving the tramp and the minister’s wife in the sheriff’s waiting room, especially taking note of the sounds.

“The Gurgling Duet (Notes)”

Wide shot of the sheriff’s office/ waiting room.
Romantic languid music shifts as the minister and wife pay their weekly visit – into a shorter more staccato comical tune. (The ministers wife trips over the tramp as if tripping on air. She doesn’t acknowledge or say sorry to the tramp.)

With a sip of tea, the music STOPS. (Awkward long shot of minister’s wife staring in the direction of the tramp, but not really at him.)

Individual shots of the two characters, both showing the first signs of gurgles.
Realistic sounds add sound to the silence = dog barking, radio, sound of soda pop.

As the sheriff and minister enter the room again, cheerful music picks back up.

This sequence is a great example of Chaplin’s playing with sound but applying meaning to every simple gurgle. The individual shots of both characters on the bench establishes a clear separation between them, but they are then brought together by their digestive sounds and realistic sounds that add to the silence. The two characters are on the same plane with the same issues, but you wouldn’t know it by the minister’s wife’s expressions. As she trips on the tramp on her way out, however, you can see that the wife has not learned anything from her duet.

{ 3:41 pm


% Tim completed

Charlie Chaplin’s “Modern Times” is a very anti-capitalist look at the 1936 manufactory system and the effect it had on those in the throes of poverty. The film opens with the protagonist (played by Chaplin) working in a factory, wherein the factory workers operate like machines. Soon after, as a result of the repetitious movement inherent in an assembly line, Chaplin’s character has a nervous breakdown, which lands him in a mental institution. During this breakdown, we get an interesting side-shot of the cogs as Chaplin is strung through the machinery, further suggesting that the worker is no better than the machines that they operate. Interestingly, the majority of the shots in the factory are long single shots, showing almost entire skits from a single angle. From this scene, we cut to impoverished children stealing food, which further exemplifies the victims of 1936’s capitalist system. This scene also introduces Chaplin’s companion later in the film.

The film shows Chaplin in and out of jail, either for crimes he didn’t commit or was forced to commit due to poverty or crimes committed out of pure stupidity. The brilliance comes, however, when Chaplain requests to remain in jail, believing that jail is better than trying to survive poor in a society wherein the poor are rejected. Additionally, it suggests that Chaplin is used to prisons as he has worked in the prison of a factory all his life.

The film should definitely be billed as pro-socialism, because it refuses to glorify the factory times in America, unlike so many capitalism-propagandist films of the era. Where the majority of films glorified the manufactory system as the promise of nationwide power and the way of the future, “Modern Times” shows the factories as they are: a prison for the destitute that poverty forces people into. Later in the film, we see workers lining up to get work in a factory, begging to be put back into prison, much like Chaplin earlier in the film. This is the inescapable cycle of capitalism: if you’re poor, you cannot escape prison.

{ 3:37 pm


% Sam completed

The idea of system and repitition is portrayed in this film. In every setting and situation from the factory, the policemen to the jail everyone and everything is part of a controlled system. Even the seemingly chaotic protestors and the bustling dance floor of the cafe are systematic and ordered.

Charie Chaplin acts as a distruption to the strict ordered system. Everywhere he goes, he brings chaos and destruction. (The boat, the factory, the department store). The home that he lives in is rickety and falling apart and when he sings he ends up having to improvise the lyrics and dance. The scene in the department store where he is skating dangerously close to the edge of the flooring with a blindfold on is symbolic of his role as an agent of chance/chaos.

Charlie Chaplin has a moment where he considers surrendering to the systematic way of living when he considers the comforts of his jail cell to be better than being a free man, but that changes when he meets the girl. The girl, with no parents or authority figures, acts as someone that is completely free from any sort of system. She frees Charlie Chaplin from the trap of falling into a system and later he also rescues her from the policemen who try to capture her and put her into a foster home.

The movie is essentailly about escaping from the rigid systems of the city and society. The story is resolved in the end where Charlie Chaplin and the girl walk away from the city and leave behind all the rules and regulations that come with it.

{ 3:28 pm


% Emma completed

Modern Times was produced in 1936. Chaplin himself directed, wrote, scored, and produced the film all by himself, and also had the starring lead role accompanied by his wife, Paulette Goddard. In Modern Times, Chaplin embodies the epitome of the hard worker. Modern Times opens with a clock approaching six o’clock, the morning hour that sets American blue-collar workers into motion for the daily grind. The clock is gigantic and fills up the entire screen, which helps really push that generalization. He tries his hardest at a variety of jobs, whether it being a factory assembly-line worker, a shipyard worker, a night watchman on roller skates, or a singing waiter. While it is classified as a silent film, Modern Times is not-so-silent. There are a lot of voices and souds from machines (the feeding machine), the television screens ( the Big Brothers screen) and Chaplin’s real singing voices at the end of the movie while he was a waiter. It is coupled with a series of sound effects and musical score that enhance the film.

Set during the Great Depression in the 1930s, the film connotes what was actually happening to millions of people in real life – unemployment, hunger, and poverty. Of course, Chaplin mimics these ‘real life’ situations with a large spoonful of humor. There are a number of memorable and unique scenes that Charlie shows off the dehumanization effect the machine has had on its time (the Industrial Age). The scene of Henry Ford’s assembly line so comically shows the real irony of machinery. The purpose of the machine was to shorten production time & decrease human error, however in the film it does quite the opposite. The machines begin to get stuck and break, which is actually prolonging the time and amount of production.

{ 3:17 pm


% Ye Won completed

I decided to focus on the term “modern”, as it says “a story of industry, of individual enterprise – humanity crusading in the pursuit of happiness”. At the beginning, the film starts with a moving clock.


These are scenes that show modernized people in busy life. Modern life, illustrated in the film, looks somewhat ridiculous. These scenes work with audio effects.


01:33 – A herd of sheeps rushes, forcing each other.

01:39 – A herd of sheeps shifts into a crowd of people in the subway station.

01:44 – People rush to the factory without caring about cars running toward them.

01:52 – Workers rushing inside the factory.

02:47 – President of the factory monitors his workers.

03:07 – Presidents says “section 5, speed it up.”

03:25 – Charlie tries to catch up machine speed, but fails for few times.

04:55 – President says “section 5, more speed.”

05:27 – Charlie marks his time for cigaratte.

05:47 – President doesn’t let him to rest.

07:13 – Salesmen introduce a machine that feeds workers during work.

12:15 – Employers don’t give up and starts the feeding machine again.

14:44 – Charlie sucks into the machine and into the wheels. Then escape.

Another point that I thought interesting was, the text in the film. At the beginnning, a short description of the film shows up, and then another text introduces the president of the factory. During the factory scene, the texts shows the time of the day. Throughout the film, texts show up at crucial scenes, like “He’s crazy!!!” and “It’s not practical”. Also, the text narrates the storyline like “Cured of a nervous breakdown but without a job, he leaves the hospital to start life anew.”


It can be understood that this film doesn’t consist actors’ dialog due to the technology of the time, but some of the dialogs still exists in the film. It is interesting because some of the lines are written as the text and some of the lines are spoken by the actors.

{ 3:15 pm


% Namita completed

One of the recurring themes in the movie Modern Times is the notion of the perfect home. Around 30 minutes into the movie we are introduced to a type of home, his prison cell. He’s shown as “happy in his comfortable cell”. The first ‘home’ doesn’t appear again later on in the film even though he goes back to prison several times because he meets the gamin and the ideal of a home replaces the comfort of a home.

42 minutes into the film we see this overacted scene of husband and wife that the tramp imitates in jest, but then they take it seriously. They imagine this fantasized scene of the gamin and tramp living the high life in a quaint little house with their own cow and orange trees in the backyard for fresh milk and oranges. This scene is succeeded by the department store fantasy. As they visit the toy section first we are constantly questioning whether they are adults or children. The way they imagine this ideal of a home and reenact it in the department store and in the dilapidated house they find soon after the department store scene is like a child-like act of husband and wife.

The three scenes of the fantasized home, the department store and the dilapidated building are accompanied with dreamy happy music that is repeated at the end of the film when they’re walking away into the distance.

The juxtaposition of the fantasized scene to the house that the gamin finds highlights the difference between reality and dreams and further emphasizes this notion of children acting out

After escaping the police they are shown walking towards the audience on a road before they take a stop by a house. This scene is reminiscent of the last scene, but in the last scene they are shown walking away from us. Living the nomad lifestyle.

{ 3:12 pm


% tina completed

charlie dances
: a study of circles

the trauma of working inspires charlie’s dance.
forced to keep up with machines and yelling bosses, charlie acquires a nervous tick,in which he jerks about and flails his arms, and screws things in many ways.
he screws up his nut screwing but the rhythmic movements of his nut-tightening is nice. continuous, but jerky.
keeping rhythm is important, and charlie cannot rest, no time for smoking.
the machines are hungry, hungry for oil, hungry for charlie. they swallow him. they beat him too (the food machines especially).
the assembly line belt is like a tongue, snaking its way down a path of gears and taking charlie along for the ride.
churned and moved along by circular cogs and spinning wheels, charlie (forwarded and then reversed) is spit out in the end, but not before he arrives at circledom!
the circular cycle of circular machines turning in circles leave him quite circular himself, a charming nut.
charlie begins his more expressive dancing, an elegant ballet, a well executed hop, a hopping.
he demonically tightens everything around him. he tightens man boobs. he tightens meddlesome noses. (tighten nose and twirl, tighten nose and twirl). fire hydrants cant escape his tightening. round and round he goes.
he tightens the buttons on a young woman’s butt, and enthusiastically pursues the buttons on a fat woman’s breasts.
the fat woman bobs and dashes, huffing, gesturing to the police. charlie follows with his funny feet, he waddles quickly.
the fat woman dashes away, the police man dashes after charlie, and charlie dashes back to factory, where havoc ensues.
charlie turns some wheels and presses some levers.
charlie finds a watering can. oh wait, an oil can, with black gunk in it, no matter.
he waters people and crisscrosses his legs daintily, arms spread out dramatically.
he dashes around in circles, a dashing man! everyone is dashing now, dashing towards him, dashing away.
it is a mad dash, a mad dance. everyone is mad, a madness on a stage.
the man from the psych ward comes and charlie squirts black at him but smiles.
charlie gets into the car happily, what a good sport!
and with the car he leaves.

exploring rhythm, dance, movement, circle, cycle, and repetition as they pertain to showing madness and freedom, ie madness to attain freedom, or madness from lack of freedom and/or the effects of constraint and repetition on interesting people/black sheep…

{ 2:44 pm


% Sofia completed

After Charlie Chaplin is released from the hospital after his breakdown, he is advised by the doctor to “take it easy and avoid excitement”. This advice is contrasted with images from the city in chaos, with loud noises and heavy machinery of the city. These images are superimposed on top of each other, emphasizing the chaos and amount of information more, and blending in and out of each other very quickly.

Afterwards, Charlie Chaplin is walking calmly down the sidewalk, but these previous scenes of the images foreshadow that something chaotic is going to happen. In this scene, Charlie Chaplin is walking calmly and looking at his surroundings, there are a few people in the road but not too many, and there isn’t that much happening. Charlie is walking with no intention of going anywhere, since now that he has a job he has nothing to do.

The next shot is of the back of a truck, with a flag hanging lose on the back side, and the shot is from the truck’s perspective. The flag is hanging on the truck for a few seconds, and then it falls to the street. The camera then moves from the truck’s perspective to a more open view of the city, and then Charlie is on the scene, he spots the flag falling, and he runs towards it, waving at the truck to stop. The camera is still form the truck’s perspective, moving away as it drives on. Charlie then picks up the flag and waves again at the flag, and the camera is now refocused on Charlie on the street. The streets are now with a few more people walking around, and suddenly a big group of people in a protest comes in from behind Charlie and start marching down the street. The people are also waving flags in protests and holding signs, and as they get closer to Charlie, they almost blend in with Charlie’s own movement, looking as if he is walking along with the people in the protest, and leading them. Charlie never looks back, so he never realizes that there is a big protest going on behind them.

Suddenly, he sees something in front of him and starts getting scared, and it is the police that are running towards him. The screen is filled with people running around everywhere, and then two policemen catch him and we get a black screen saying, “So you’re the leader”.

This scene shows how innocent Charlie Chaplin is, and how in his mind he is trying to do something nice, but he is naïve about the entire situation, and doesn’t realize that he got into trouble.


{ 12:59 pm


% Michelle completed

I find it interesting that there is only auditory dialogue in this film when it comes through technology. In the beginning, we see the head of the factory in his office, yet we don’t hear him speak until he comes on a screen. Only when he is in this 2D form is he able to speak. He is also more powerful in the video-call form, since he can see everything in the factory, including the bathrooms. He barks orders such as “Section 5, speed her up, four zero one”. This is a very mechanical order that doesn’t make sense to someone who isn’t familiar with the factory’s organizational structure.

Only having auditory dialogue come through technology has the effect of dehumanizing the characters. The boss’ commands sound much more authoritative coming through overhead speakers rather than face-to-face.

When the representatives for the Billows Feeding Machine come in, they don’t introduce the machine themselves. They set up a record player to play a prerecorded explanation of the invention. Creates a distance between the representatives and the machine, as well as between them and their potential customer. Makes the technology more human whereas the humans become more mechanical.

3:10 – boss man on video call (section 5, speed her up, 401)
3:20 – overhead speakers, not seen
4:50 – section five, more speed, 4-7
5:40 – hey, quit stalling, get back to work
6:55 – explanation of Billows Feeding Machine through record rather than the representatives. even more distancing.
14:00 – bossman turns around in his chair to video call camera, section five, keep to the limit (?)

For the rest of the movie, dialogue between characters that are in physical presence of one another is signified through dialogue intertitles. It begins with a factory worker saying “He’s crazy!” when Chaplin’s Tramp character tries jumping into the machine to keep turning the knobs. When dialogue is necessary, the film uses these intertitles.

14:40 – ***when a worker says something, it’s in a dialogue card “He’s crazy!” rather than actual sound of voice.
19:15 – doctor says, but through dialogue card “Take it easy and avoid excitement.”
20:43 – “so you’re the leader” dialogue card of policeman, when arresting chaplin for starting protest
30:14 – “Take them away.” government workers say, when taking the Gamin’s sisters away.
30:35 – “where’s the other girl?” when she runs away, policeman asks
34:33 – “Well, you’re a free man” jailman says to Chaplin
34:45 – Can’t I stay a little longer? I’m so happy here.” Chaplin says to jailman.
34:55 – “This letter will help you to get work. Now make good.”
35:57 – “Find a wedge like this” Shipbuilder says to Chaplin
37:44 – “She stole a loaf of bread” Baker says to police
37:51 – “No, she didn’t – I did.” Chaplin says
38:10 – “It was the girl – not the man” lady says to baker
40:45 – “Remember me – and the bread?” Chaplin says to gamin
41:42 – “Now is your chance to escape!” Chaplin to gamin
42:41 – “Where do you live?” Chaplin to gamin
42:46 – “No place – anywhere.” Gamin to Chaplin
43:23 – “Can you imagine us in a little home like that?” Chaplin to gamin
45:12 – “I’ll do it! We’ll get a home even if I have to work for it”
45:47 – “The night watchman broke his leg.” man on street
48:11 – “Look, I can do it blindfolded!” Tramp to gamin

There are moments in the film where the Tramp character goes to the extreme and by doing so, acts more like a machine than ever. The first instance of this is when he has his nervous breakdown in the factory. It begins when the Tramp takes his first break. While walking away from the factory line, his arms still twitch in the same motion he’s been doing. In order to get out of this repetitive motion, he stretches. It happens again during lunch, when he picks up a bowl of soup and flings the contents out because he keeps flicking his wrists. It’s as though his body has been programmed to do one task and has a hard time becoming human again. Later on, after he jumps into the machine in order to continue turning the knobs, once he comes out, he’s fully in his mental breakdown. He’s almost this automaton with one set action. Twists anything resembling a knob:
buttons on the secretary’s skirt
fire hydrant
another lady’s hexagonal buttons

During his breakdown, he is like a broken machine performing the wrong functions as well as the correct function to such an extreme that it causes chaos.

Runs around, pulling levers and turning dials that damages the machine.
Broken machine to broken mind. The environment treats the Tramp as a one-function machine, so much that he, as the worker, becomes it.

Another time in which the Tramp becomes like a broken machine is when he is in jail. He has a hard time fitting in, among others as well as within the orderly structure of the prison routine. He doesn’t know exactly how to march or sit down for lunch on time. After accidentally sniffing cocaine (nose-powder), he becomes an extreme version of this, but more robotic. He spins in circles while walking and walks in the other direction. All the while his motions are in sync with the other prisoners’ militaristic marches, he goes in the wrong direction. Machine performing the wrong functions again.



{ 1:25 am


% Aubrie completed

Charlie Chaplin’s “Modern Times,” is a black and white film from 1936. Music is the majority of sound in the film, with a very few voice clips from radio or other media devices in the film. The music is purely instrumental and mostly fast-paced to mimic that of the characters. The only other way the viewer is aware of the speech or thoughts of the actors, is through caption slides containing brief quotes form characters or descriptions of happening in the plot. These caption slides are used sparingly due to the very active and expressive body movements by the characters, especially Charlie Chaplin himself.

Scenes are shot almost always with a full body view of characters, and characters are generally positioned in the middle of the screen.  Lighting of the sets is very spread out evenly from the ceiling and causes no harsh glares on characters’ faces. In many scenes there seems to also be light facing the characters from behind the director.

The character of Charlie is especially interesting. His attire and mannerisms tie the whole film together. This occurs for a few reasons. He is supposed to represent an ordinary man in the Great Depression. This can be seen through the many ordinary jobs he is given and common treatment (and punishment) he is delt for his actions. However, in order to stand out to the audience, his attire is ill-fitting, most prominent being his oversized shoes. His eyebrows are darkened as well as his unique mustache, and he is of a short stature. This comes across as comical to the viewer. Had Charlie acted and dressed like any of the other male characters, the viewer may not have understood this film to be comedic.

Overall, the film succeeds in making a solemn topic (the Depression) very funny. It is successful in this by basing its plot on the many ridiculous events that make up one “ordinary” man’s life. To give a few examples; the food machine, the camera screen in the bathroom at Charlie’s first job, the way Charlie’s nervous breakdown came about, the shack he was going to live in, the amount of times he interacted with the police in a negative fashion etc.

IMage 1: Charlie’s clothing

Image 2: Front on characters and overhead lighting

Image 3: Another ridiculous event in Charlie’s life

{ 11:38 pm