Charlie Chaplin Modern Times Analysis

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SOUND IN THE SILENCE! Chaplin’s “Modern Times” Sir Charles Spencer Chaplin, better known as Charlie Chaplin was an English actor, director, scriptwriter, producer, composer and the great silent star, in the sound era. The speciality about Chaplin’s films is that whenever we watch it - no matter after how long you saw it the last time - it seems both endearingly familiar and inexhaustibly fresh, with a feeling of wanting to watch it again. Part of that delight comes from, of course, Chaplin himself. Watching Chaplin’s works we realise that he is one of the few artists of the twentieth century who is able to completely disarm a critic, challenge his sharpest faculties and still come out unscathed. The…show more content…
During this sequence, Chaplin’s use of sound is at its most playful. The song that Charlie sings does not include any real words, also known as The Nonsense Song, as his character sings it in eloquent gibberish and instead, as Robinson notes, is “in a language of his own invention.” Though it’s gibberish but it appears to contain words from French and Italian. The use of half-intelligible wording which sounds like words of another language not only gives it a comic effect but also showcases what Tomlinson calls “the brilliance of his pantomime.” The way he sings the ‘pseudo-multilingual’ words are as expressive as his rhythmical movements, gestures and facial expressions, winning him the extol of the audience. But in a larger context, this kind of performance where Chaplin is given a sound but merely gibberish is a metaphor for the working class having no say whatsoever. And if at all they are given any sound, it’s either suppressed or can’t be understood, thus emphasising the tyranny of Industrialisation. In the words of Tomlinson, “machines, not people are allowed
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