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.