Charlie Chaplin's Modern Times is one of his funniest films that explores the political fears of the common man vs the machine. This was Chaplin's first overtly political-themed film, and its unflattering portrayal of industrial society and the mechanization world crushing the everyday man generated controversy in some quarters upon its initial release. The opening shot of Modern Times sums up exactly what Chaplin is trying to say to his audience, as it shows a herd of sheep and the very next sequence projects a crowd of men walking into a factory; symbolizing on how human beings have become mindless caddle. It then introduces the Tramp as a factory worker employed on an assembly line, as he struggles to survive in the modern, industrialized world. The subtle use of sounds in the factory sequence is quite extraordinary, as audiences hear the sounds of beeps, buttons, wheels and cranks that are being pulled, pushed and spinned.
One of the funniest scenes in the film is where the Tramp is subjected to such indignities as being force-fed by a "modern" feeding machine that eventually goes haywire. Modern Times has probably some of the funniest comedic bits in all of Chaplin's films, as they include such moments as Chaplin behind bars (he probably gets arrested three different moments throughout the film) accidentally ingesting smuggled cocaine originally mistaking it for salt. Then there is the toy department sequence where the Little Tramp decides to roller-skate blindfolded not knowing the floor is under construction and there is a large drop. And finally there is his job as an efficient waiter, though he finds it difficult to tell the difference between the "in" and "out" doors to the kitchen which causes several accidents and spills. Even though sound was already a major part of the cinema in the year 1936, Chaplin insisted The Tramp would never speak because it would destroy the magic of his character. Modern Times was the very last silent film Chaplin would make and the last time he would use the character of the Little Tramp. Near the end of the film Chaplin does have the Tramp speak through song, even though we don't really understand what he is saying, but I guess Chaplin thought if Garbo finally spoke, why not have the Little Tramp do so too.