Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Food Fun

I recently watched Chaplin's Modern Times with some friends.  I'd noticed in the past how often Chaplin uses food in his comedy (for instance, the two most famous bits in The Gold Rush are about food--cooking and eating his shoe, and the Oceana Roll), but I'd never noticed just how much in Modern Times.

Every sequence (or faction, as Chaplin called them) of the film has food gags.

--the opening section in the factory has Chaplin subjected to the feeding machine

--in jail, he ingests the "nose powder" while eating his lunch

--Paulette Goddard is introduced stealing bananas, and then meets Chaplin after stealing some bread

--Chaplin and the minister's wife drink tea and their stomachs gurgle

--Chaplin goes into a cafeteria and eats a whole bunch of food so he can get arrested

--his dream of life with Paulette is mostly built around food gags, such as picking fruit just outside his window and getting milk directly from a cow

--as a night watchman in a department store he serves Paulette large amounts of food and later gets drunk with burglars

--when he and the girl live in a shack, there are gags about the meat and bread they eat

--when he works at the factory again, he feeds lunch to his boss who's stuck in the machinery

--his last job is as a waiter in a café, where he creates his own Swiss cheese and had several gags with a roast duck

I'm not trying to make any deep claims, like Chaplin never forgot his days of hunger as a child. I'm not saying other clowns didn't work in similar areas.  But I am saying you'd have to go pretty far to find another comedy that has so much of it built around food.


Anonymous Lawrence King said...

The food machine scene was truly brilliant.

12:26 AM, March 29, 2017  
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