Modern Times (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray]
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This is a film that I can watch over and over again. It's not just that it's an incredibly funny film. It's not just that its satire of modernization and industrialization still rings true today. It's that each aspect of the filmmaking pulls together to form something greater than each individual part. The story ranges from big topics concerning the Great Depression and dehumanization, while successfully balancing that with the small love story between the tramp and the gamin. In a theme that would be revisited even more powerfully in LIMELIGHT, the two characters need each other, depend on each other and simply have no reason to exist without the other. The comedy tickles while the tragedy touches. No other director in film history managed to find that equilibrium with such skill.
This is rightly hailed as the last great silent movie, albeit one made several years after sound has become the norm. I still get a kick out of the fact that the only intelligible voices come solely from machines. Chaplin is making a silent film using sound technology, meaning he has the option to take the best of the both worlds. His next film, THE GREAT DICTATOR, wouldn't quite get this mixture right, but it's a success here. The film can go for several minutes at a time with no meaningful talking or sound effects, and then suddenly jump into an unexpected gag involving voice.Read more ›
This new Blu-ray release from Criterion continues their standard of releasing historically important films with significant audio/video remastering and a variety of enticing special features. However, in this case, Criterion is competing with an already excellent release of this film on DVD from Warner/mk2 in 2003. The new Criterion release mentions that the "new" transfer was created in collaboration with Cineteca di Bologna, who were also credited with the previous Warner/mk2 release. I am not sure if this release actually includes a new transfer or just an upgrade of the existing one to 2K-resolution for Blu-ray. I performed a side-by-side comparison of both versions, and the Criterion Blu-ray version contained noticeably better detail and superior contrast.Read more ›
Meanwhile, out along the waterfront (location work was done at San Pedro harbor), an indomitable Paulette Goddard watches as her father is killed by a mob, feeds bananas to children, and is helped by Chaplin out of a robbery of food when she is starving. The scenes with Goddard are heartbreakingly lovely, while Charlie is having a great time in prison--no work to do and free food! "Can't I please stay longer?" he asks the warden on a title card as he is being paroled. He will get his wish when he inadvertently becomes the leader of a labor rally waving a red Communist flag.
Eventually, Chaplin and Goddard set up housekeeping together in a waterfront shack. She tags along when he gets a job as an all night watchman in a department store. Paulette tries on a fur coat and goes to sleep on a bed up on the fourth or fifth floor. Charlie will wake her before the store opens.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Excellent quality video. Every thing about the movie has been said. It's funny but it was asad time in our history.Published 6 days ago by DT
I love Chaplin's films, and this is no exception. Chaplin's social statements are so masterfully crafted.Published 1 month ago by Lester
For overall perfection, City Lights edges this out perhaps; but for a single scene that is funnier than anything else Chaplin ever did, and pretty much than anything committed to... Read morePublished 2 months ago by NYC Amazon buyer