The Eating Machine
During the Machine age there was a rash of innovative ideas to increase productivity in the factory. The assembly line invented by Henry Ford had a basic principle; it should always move forward and never stop. A problem that needed addressing was what to do at lunchtime. Workers were human and needed fueling at mid-shift.
Charlie Chaplin again shows his brilliance as a writer and director in his 1936 movie, “Modern Times.” He violates the rules of the time as follows:
1. It is 1936 and it is a silent movie
2. The lighting on the actors is absolutely flat(no shadows) which was a throwback to the 1920s
The genius Chaplin shows as a cinematographer makes the entire movie photographically interesting.
The most overwhelming feature of this scene is Chaplin’s acting ability. Even Johnny Depp could not pull off a scene where his arms and legs are bound and the only way to convey emotions are your head. (Which is in a vise)
Critics of Modern Times would look at Marcel Marceau and comment, “If only he could talk,” or would look at the Venus De Milo and say, “If only she had arms.” They ignore the fact that the canvas for Chaplin’s art was the silent movie.