Friday, December 17, 2010

'Modern Times' on Saturday, Dec. 26

The usual holiday madness, and also personal concerns that range from ailing parents to newly adopted puppies, have rendered the blog somewhat inactive of late. Ah, but the screenings continue. We have not one but TWO Chaplin features coming up: 'Modern Times' (1936) at the Wilton (N.H.) Town Hall Theatre on Sunday, Dec. 26 at 4:30 p.m., and then a New Year's Eve screening of 'The Gold Rush' (1925) on Friday, Dec. 31 at 8 p.m. at Red River Theatres in Concord, N.H.

'Modern Times' features Chaplin's own soundtrack, so I won't be doing music for that, but will accompany several silent comedy shorts to go with it. 'The Gold Rush' will be all me, with a heavy dose of 'Auld Lang Syne' and a little waltz tune for tender moments that I made up for a previous 'Gold Rush' screening and which several people have said ranks as the best melody I've come up with. (I know, that's not saying much.)

I'm so pleased to be able to screen these films. Initial contacts with the Chaplin estate a few years ago were a bit frosty, but Janus Films (which currently manages the U.S. rights for the Chaplin titles under copyright) have been wonderful to deal with. The end result is that cinema audiences in our little corner of the world have a chance to experience Chaplin in a manner pretty close to the way audiences originally experienced it.

Hope you can join us for the screenings, which each include a selection of comedy short subjects and maybe a few cinematic surprises. Here's the press release for 'Modern Time' on Saturday, Dec. 26...


For more info, contact:
Jeff Rapsis • (603) 236-9237 •

Chaplin's 'Modern Times' in Wilton, N.H. on Sunday, Dec. 26

Free family-friendly screening of classic film comedy on holiday weekend

WILTON, N.H.—Mark the holiday season with 'Modern Times' (1936), Charlie Chaplin's timeless comedy about man surviving the machine age. The film will be screened on Sunday, Dec. 26 at 4:30 p.m. at the Wilton Town Hall Theatre in Wilton, N.H. The family-friendly show includes silent short comedies with live music and is free to the public, with donations accepted to defray costs.

In 'Modern Times,' a fable about assembly lines and automation, the quest of Chaplin's 'Little Tramp' character for a place in society continues against the ever-quickening pace of modern life. But this time, the Tramp has a homeless young woman (Paulette Goddard) as a partner, who joins in a series of adventures that rank among Chaplin's best remembered comic sequences.

This showing features a digitally restored version of 'Modern Times' provided courtesy of Janus Films, allowing viewers to see the film as audiences enjoyed it when it was first released. The film is suitable for the entire family, and a great way to get out and relax together at the end of a busy holiday weekend.

'Modern Times,' Chaplin's final silent picture, was also the last in which he played the iconic 'Tramp' character. Released seven years after the movie industry had converted from silent pictures to talkies, 'Modern Times' contains no dialogue, but includes a soundtrack with music created by Chaplin.

For the other silent comedies at the screening, live musical accompaniment will be provided by local musician and composer Jeff Rapsis.

At the time of its release, 'Modern Times' was hailed as an instant masterpiece, and went on to be one of 1936's top-grossing films. Critics today regard 'Modern Times' as a farewell to the unique art of silent comedy as well as a great film in its own right that's stood the test of time.

“One of the many remarkable things about Charlie Chaplin is that his films continue to hold up, to attract and delight audiences,” wrote Roger Ebert, in a recent review of 'Modern Times.'

"Chaplin's last silent film is consistently hilarious, and unforgettable!" raved Leonard Maltin.

'Modern Times' will be screened on Sunday, Dec. 26 at 4:30 p.m. at the Wilton Town Hall Theatre, Main Street, in Wilton, N.H. For more information, visit or call (603) 654-3456. The Wilton Town Hall Theatre runs silent film programs with live music on the last Sunday of every month. See for yourself the films that made audiences first fall in love with the movies!

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