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It has a number of wonderfully inventive and memorable routines and scenes that proclaim the frustrating struggle by proletarian man against the dehumanizing effects of the machine in the Industrial Age (at the time of Henry Ford's assembly line), and various social institutions.The scenes of the Tramp find him alternating between scenes as an assembly-line factory worker (where he is literally fed by a machine and then - when the monotony overtakes him - becomes the 'food' in the cogs and gears of another machine), a shipyard worker, a department store night watchman, an overstressed singing waiter, or an occupant in jail.This was Chaplin's first film after his successful City Lights (1931), released nine years after the advent of 'talkies.' film.
His body snakes its way through the gears until the production line's direction is reversed and he finally emerges free of the machine. In a trance-like state, with wrenches aloft, he demonically tightens everything in sight, including people's noses.
The results of his innocent, personal behavior have much larger consequences.