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U Modern Times DVD (1936)
Reviewed by Almar Haflidason
updated 22nd September 2003

reviewer's rating
five star


Charles Chaplin

Charles Chaplin

Charles Chaplin
Paulette Goddard
Henry Bergman
Tiny Sandford

89 minutes

Warner Bros


22nd September 2003



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The last appearance of the Little Tramp was in one of Chaplin's most side-splitting films. "Modern Times" remains a wonderful production line of physical sight gags. Get ready to enjoy it like never before, with a comprehensive array of extra features on a two-disc DVD release that details the historical backdrop that motivated Chaplin to make this movie.


Picture The prints usually available for this film have invariably been badly scratched and heavily faded. It's therefore a joy to see the depth of contrast in the image, and to see a print looking so clear.

Sound Apart from the odd bit of dialogue and occasional sound effect, the 5.1 sound mix only has to handle the music score, which enjoys good bass enhancement.


Introduction David Robinson precedes the film with some interesting points. These include an alternate ending, and how Chaplin agonised over whether the Little Tramp should speak in, what was then, the brave new age of sound.

Chaplin Today "Modern Times" was, as many put it, "the last great almost-silent film". This documentary dissects in detail the cleverness of the movie, and how Chaplin experimented with frame rates and sound. He regularly shot late into the night - sometimes through to 6.45am the next day. Chaplin was at the time concerned over the fairer distribution of wealth, and you can see here footage of him meeting Gandhi.

Nonsense Song The only words uttered by the Little Tramp are in a silly song of pretend Italian. Should you wish to know what Chaplin is saying then you can enjoy the song on its own as an amusing karaoke routine.

Documents Don't be deceived by the title as in this section you'll find lots of video material. There's US government educational footage on the industrial revolution, a dreary promotional film from Ford, Liberace singing 'Smile', and an entrancing short of Cuban peasants watching a film for the first time. Judging from the laughter they were fans of "Modern Times" - once they got over their fear of the larger-than-life images.

Additional Extra Features Also on disc two is an outtake, eight photo galleries, a film poster gallery, trailers and footage excerpts from other titles in The Chaplin Collection.

Chapters: 20
Ratio: 1.33:1 (original fullscreen ratio)
Sound: Dolby Digital 5.1 and 2.0
Audio Tracks: English, French, Italian
Subtitles: English and multiple languages
Captions: English, French, Italian
Menus: Static, with music
Special Features Subtitles: All of the special features come with subtitles apart from Chaplin Today.

This DVD was reviewed on a JVC XV-N5 DVD player.

Find out more about "Modern Times DVD" at
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