Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB.
USA, 1936. Charles Chaplin Productions. Screenplay by Charles Chaplin. Cinematography by Roland Totheroh, Ira H. Morgan. Produced by Charles Chaplin. Music by Charles Chaplin. Production Design by Charles D. Hall. Film Editing by Charles Chaplin, Willard Nico.
Charles Chaplin has often been attributed with foreseeing the age of industrial prosperity in this brilliantly hilarious comedy, but it should be pointed out that what he was observing was the already over productive age during which the film was made. He plays a factory worker who falls apart from too much repetition and is sent to a rest home. When he is released, he befriends a waterfront orphan (the lovely Paulette Goddard, who was Mrs. Chaplin at the time) and the two of them decide to beat the hard times and find employment so that he can support her. Bringing himself back to the world of the working man is more difficult than it at first seems in Depression-era America, and his successes and setbacks make for quite an entertaining experience. It’s neither as funny as City Lights or as poignant, but it doesn’t fall that far short of his other masterpieces either.