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Sunday, September 4

12:30   4:05   7:50

2:15   6:00   9:35

DOUBLE FEATURE: Two films for one admission. Tickets purchased entitle patrons to stay and see the following film at no additional charge.


Directed by and starring Charlie Chaplin

(1931) Chaplin on talkies, 1929: “I loathe them.” As stuffy orators intone at the unveiling of a monstrous group of civic statuary, the speech-less soundtrack imitates kazoos and chickens, even as the Little Tramp is revealed asleep in the arms of the matronly allegorical statue. And so, for the world of fans who had waited for Chaplin’s response to the talkie revolution, the answer was – except for a recorded music track, with sound effects like gunshots, clanging bells, and that whistle – a silent movie…and a masterpiece. But this time channeled through the double tracks of parallel plots: the suicidal zillionaire who, saved from drowning, by Charlie, becomes his bosom buddy…until that darned sobriety returned; and Virginia Cherrill’s beautiful blind flower girl, who in offering the shabby Tramp a boutonnière, mistakes him for a swell stepping out from his limo. (Cherrill, a socialite and film neophyte, disliked Chaplin, and vice versa – he tried to fire her once and cast her only because she could avoid grotesquerie when faking blindness. Soon after, she became the first Mrs. Cary Grant.) En route, Charlie mistakes cheese for soap and confetti for spaghetti, gets stuck streetcleaning behind an elephant, interrupts a society soloist with whistle-augmented hiccups, continually unknowingly teeters on the brink as a street elevator up-and-downs behind his to-and-froing before a naked statue in a shop window; and turns a safely-fixed-but-now-it-dangerously-isn’t prize fight into a hilariously synchronized pas de trois; all, ultimately for love of Cherrill, culminating in the legendary scene of recognitions: the final close-up (emulated by Giulietta Masina in Nights of Cabiria and Woody Allen in Manhatten) was later proclaimed by James Agee as “the greatest piece of acting and the highest moment in movies.” 35mm. Approx. 86 mins.
12:30, 4:05, 7:50

“If only one of Chaplin’s films could be preserved, City Lights would come the closest to representing all the different notes of his genius. It contains the slapstick, the pathos, the pantomime, the effortless physical coordination, the melodrama, the bawdiness, the grace, and, of course, the Little Tramp – the character said at one time to be the most famous image on earth.”
– Roger Ebert


Directed by and starring Charlie Chaplin

(1936) The tramp gets trapped in the coils of automation; plays the guinea pig for a feeding machine gone amok; helpfully waves a red flag dropped by a departing truck – just as a Communist demonstration marches up behind him; and accidently sniffs “happy dust.” A corrosive satire on the dehumanizing effects of technology, but also one of his most lighthearted works, with the additional exuberance of Paulette Goddard as “the Gamin.” 35mm. Approx. 89 mins.
2:15, 6:00, 9:35

– Time Out

“Made under the twin influences of Walt Disney (the cartoon-like use of sound effects) and Fritz Lang (the vast art deco factory that initially employs the Little Tramp)… Chaplin's opening montage joke, comparing the proletariat to sheep, may be ABC Eisenstein, but the comic Metropolis of the movie's first half-hour is one of his greatest conceits.”
– J. Hoberman, Village Voice

“A lot of movies are said to be timeless, but somehow in their immortality they fail to draw audiences… One of the many remarkable things about Charlie Chaplin is that his films continue to hold up, to attract and delight audiences… With Modern Times, a fable about (among other things) automation, assembly lines and the enslaving of man by machines, he hit upon an effective way to introduce sound without disturbing his comedy of pantomime.”
– Roger Ebert

“To the best of my knowledge, with the arguable exception of Dickens, no one else in the history of art has shown us in greater detail what it means to be poor, and certainly no one else in the history of movies has played to a more diverse audience or evolved more ambitiously from one feature to the next. The opening sequence in Chaplin's second Depression masterpiece (1936), of the Tramp on the assembly line, is possibly his greatest slapstick encounter with the 20th century.”
– Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader

Film Forum