June 2, 2007

Lost Movie Weekend #3

Charlie Chaplin & Paulette Goddard in 'Modern Times'.

This movie was a revelation for me! About all I'd seen of Charlie Chaplin are those 10 second clips of his greatest hits. What a delight it was finding this full length movie. The pace is so easy and delightful. It was the last 'silent' film he made (1936), though it's odd because it does have bits of talking sound. It's an odd logic where radios can talk with sound but people only talk with subtitles. Makes perfect sense somehow. Chaplin also wrote the music... which is just right.

Paulette Goddard is the perfect street urchin companion to Charlie. It's hard to find that kind of kindness & sweetness & joy in a movie star these days. It's easy to see how she stole the heart of a nation. In this scene she & Charlie imagine a dream house... though in fact they're really living in a shack.

I like watching old movies for all the secondary things in the background. I think it's a marvel to see how fences were made in the 1930's and how telephone poles looked 50 years ago... what coffee pots and wallpaper and sinks and lamp posts used to be like. But it's escape mostly. For the first time in history, people can escape back 100 years to a land of real time images from the past.


Anonymous said...

I love watching the old classic movies...the silents, the musicals etc... I love to see how people lived back then too. A couple of weeks ago, TCM showed "the Patsy" starring Marion Davies.It's kind of like time travelling in your head. I love to escape to the times of my grandparents and parents. It gives my too active mind a respite from all of the usual insanities of everyday life. I love "Modern Times" and "City Lights". I also love the Harold Lloyd films. Thanks for bringing this up John. I've even got my adult kids into watching these art forms.If it's vintage anything, I'm there!

John Nez said...

Yes, life seemed so much simpler back then. I always look at those empty fields in the backgrounds of the old movies and think that today there are probably 8 lanes of traffic running through it with 7 mini-malls.

Sam said...

This was a lovely bit of day dream. Charlie Chaplin was an amazing actor. I loved the grapevine just outside the door, and the milk delivery, lol!!!

Paula Pertile said...

These old films were brilliant. The life we live today is such a jarring contrast in so many ways. Yes, we have phones and computers and all sorts of cool things, but we've also lost a lot I think. Oh, don't get me started.

But thanks for sharing that with us! A neat way to start my day.