Nevertheless, the final film of the series seems to be the most overtly political and inevitably then is the most controversial. Although chock-full of the brand of slapstick, physical humor which has become automatically associated with Chaplin’s acting career, Modern Times is often interpreted to be a representation of Chaplin’s own political affiliations and associations with the Left. However, certain aspects of the film make it quite apparent that Leftist politics hold no monopoly on its figurative content. The aforementioned fans of Chaplin who truly cherish his work cannot help but see through the depictions of poverty and suffering in the film, and see the Tramp urging the Gamin “to keep smiling”, and to see him relying upon his own values and skills to build a life for himself—ideals that are consistent with capitalism and the American dream.
Even before the film starts, any attempt on the part of witch-hunters to tie Chaplin to the Left and condemn Modern Times as hidden socialist propaganda is, all at once, defeated.After the opening credits, superimposed on a clock that symbolizes the tyranny of mechanistic time, the words read: “‘Modern Times.’ A story of industry, of individual enterprise—humanity crusading in the pursuit of happiness.” Expressing the film’s entire thematic content in only a few brief words, such phrases as “individual enterprise” and “pursuit of happiness” give attention not to a Leftist political cause in the context of a Depression