Charlie Chaplin’s Modern Times
RNCM Theatre, 26 October 2013
It is a wonderful film still and the live performance of Chaplin’s score by the assembled RNCM Symphony Orchestra (including Barbershop quartet) enhanced it no end.
Chaplin wrote the screenplay as well as the score, besides directing and of course starring in the film. The factory set and set-up, futuristic by ‘30s standards, owes something perhaps to Fritz Lang’s Metropolis. But all the rest: the infectious comedy, the manic chases, the surprisingly graceful dancing and the skating close to danger (literally in this case), the humanity and sentimentality. All of that, and more, is pure Chaplin.
He is a genius and the indefatigable tramp, always polite to ladies but never accepting of authority, is a masterful creation. The world is a skirmish we stumble into, it’s not really about us: the tramp knows this. To see him take to the open road cannot but raise your spirits.