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The Crimson Moviegoer,

"Modern Times" on Overdue installment of Charlie Chaplin's Slapstick Mirth and Wistfulness

By E. W. R.

Charlie Chaplin is back, and he brings back with him the gay, mad tempo of the days when movies grinned and didn't chatter. There is the syncopated whirl from one wild gag into the next, slapstick at its subliming, and hands and eyes and faces that talk without torturing your ears and making you supply the gaps. You grasp it all while lolling at your ease. And best of all, you recall the happy days ten years ago when you sneaked out of the back yard at sunset, slapped down your dime on the counter that you could barely reach, and revelled in an evening of glorious romance.

For "Modern Times" is of the same jolly crew as "City Lights" and "The Gold Rush". It is silent, and the lost art of pantomime finds a joyful revival. Charlie is so much more eloquent than if he were to speak in words! For with his cane, his derby, and his short moustache, with his wan smile, his angelic grin, his simpering indignation, and his dandy waddle, Charlie can discuss anything but metaphysics. When an ugly cop lowers a him his dumb show cries out, "All right, all right, officer, you needn't use force."

There is no need to worry your head over the social doctrines that may or may not be in "Modern Times". True, it is all about factory workers, strikes, red demonstrations, public hospitals, and jails. But if you remember that you are watching lowly-born moderns struggling through today's sea of sorrows, while Mr. Chaplin is doing his level best to scatter your attention over a vast series of ingenious gags, you can also study the differential calculus in the proverbial boiler-factory.

Funniest Picture of All Time

And "Modern Times" is far and away the funniest thing we can remember. The remarkable thing is that there is a tremendous deal to laugh about in the second seeing that you didn't have time to laugh about in the first. Funniest of all, perhaps, is a time-saving device that automatically feeds workers while they work. It is tried out on Charlie, and it runs amuck. It rasps an ear of corn against his teeth, it shoves bolts into his mouth, and it bashes in his face with its automatic wiper. But this choice is just a matter of opinion, and besides, clumsy word accounts fall hopelessly short of Chaplin's elusive mirth. Drop whatever you're doing, and go see for yourself.

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