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    Modern Time: The Analysis

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    In the film, Modern Times, Charlie Chapman plays a goofy factory worker trying to survive in an industrialize world during the Great Depression. In reality, the Great Depression resulted in many people becoming unemployed and in a financial rut (even to the point of poverty). Even though during this time, under Roosevelt’s democratic presidency, the economy was improving little by little, jobs were still sparse. Due to the lack of jobs, people didn’t have much of a say in their work conditions. Most were just thankful for income. While watching the film, I focused on two scenes: The break, and the Feeding Machine.

    In an earlier scene, Charlie clocks out for break (on his way to the time clock, Charlie cannot seem to stop his working movements. I’ll assume the joke is that he’s been doing the same procedure on the assembly lime for so long that his hand and arm movements occur involuntarily.) Charlie’s repetitive motion while on the assembly line represents predictability of behavior in which is one of the few characteristics of modern industrial management. After clocking out, Charlie goes in the bathroom to have a smoke break. While in the bathroom smoking, a large screen appears of the factory warden yelling at him to get back to work, which comically startles Charlie. Quickly, Charlie puts out his cigaret, leaves the bathroom, clocks back in and goes back to the assembly line to continue his work.

    This scene makes fun of the lack of boundaries bosses had in regards to worker privacy. The joke also highlights unreasonably short break times workers had and the excessive use of micromanagement. Charlie’s smoke break also represents the overly strict control of workers characteristic of modern industrial management. In the next scene, a group of salesmen pitch their Feeding Machine to the warden. The Feeding Machine feeds workers their lunch while they’re working. The salesmen advertise that the machine eliminates lunch breaks, boosts productivity and puts the company ahead of their competitor. After the impressive introduction, the warden and salesmen go on to the work floor to demonstrate the product on one of the workers. (Lunch Time scene) Charlie is chosen to be the test subject of the machine (against is will, of course).

    After being hooked up, the machine demonstrates it’s feeding and cleaning skills (rotating meals, mouth wiping mechanism, etc.) Towards the end of the demo, the machine malfunctions while feeding Charlie corn on a cob. Then it malfunctions again while feeding Charlie soup… and for the rest of the demo. The warden declines on purchasing the Feeding Machine, saying to the salesmen, “It’s no good – it isn’t practical.” The machine’s idea was appealing but in actuality, the machine was not properly functional therefor causing more harm than good. The idea of the Feeding Machine not only sheds a light on modern industrialization’s lack of quality, it also comments on the greed of people (for even considering this death trap for the sake of more production) in hire up positions and their lack of concern for the well-being of their laborers. The film, which is mainly in a factory, features a lot of machinery.

    During this time in the 1930s, there two major developments in industry: “One technology introduced in the 1930s was the metalcutting contour bandsaw, developed by Leighton A. Wilkie in 1933. This device let manufacturers cut shapes out of steel stampings without laborious hand work.” (American Machinist, 2000) The 1930s also saw the development of the first contour cutting machines from The Monarch Machine Co. and the first honing machines from Barnes Drill Co. (later Barnes International Inc.). Honing technology, in fact, evolved because drilling technology had matured and the automotive industry was looking for a fast and accurate method to do the final finishing of automotive engine cylinder bores. Barnes responded by developing the abrasive process for all types of bores to extremely precise surface finishes and tolerances. (American Machinist, 2000)

    There were a few scientific advancements that happened in the 1930s. In 1938, the Z1 was created by Konrad Zuse (also called the Turing Machine). His invention had components that laid the foundation for the invention of computers. In 1935, Kodachrome film was created by Eastman Kodak. His creation paved the way for further advancements in photography.

    This essay was written by a fellow student. You may use it as a guide or sample for writing your own paper, but remember to cite it correctly. Don’t submit it as your own as it will be considered plagiarism.

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    Modern Time: The Analysis. (2022, Nov 27). Retrieved from https://artscolumbia.org/modern-time-the-analysis/

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