chapter  6
22 Pages

Modern Times and the Great Depression

ByRichard Carr

The impact of the Wall Street Crash would be writ large over two of Charlie Chaplin 's later films, the semi-silent Modern Times of 1936, and his first film explicitly not to feature the Little Tramp, Monsieur Verdoux released some eleven years later. In one of the many jottings he wiled his days away producing, he argued that the Great Depression had been a classic example of the cyclical nature of capitalism. When the stock market collapsed in New York in late October 1929 Chaplin had liquidated his investments in 1928 so was financially protected, but artistically he was still struggling with the impact of the crash. As for radical ideas, he was an enthusiastic convert to the movement known as Social Credit – propagated by the English engineer Major Clifford Hugh (C. H.) Douglas. For all the controversy over the films he did make during the 1930s, another project remains of key interest despite not coming to fruition.