Paulette Goddard's character's name is Ellen Peterson.
Charles Chaplin allows the Tramp to speak on camera for the first time during the restaurant scene, but insisted that what the Tramp says be universal. Therefore, the song the Tramp sings is in gibberish, but it is possible to follow the story he tells by watching his hand gestures.
A full dialogue script was written for the film, as Charles Chaplin had intended to make a complete talkie. According to a documentary on the DVD release, Chaplin went so far as to film a scene with full dialogue before deciding instead to make a partial talkie.
According to a fall 1935 issue of Variety, Charles Chaplin was expected to run behind schedule on the release of the movie as he tweaked the soundtrack. He also wanted to chop over 1,000 feet of film from his then existing cut.
According to Paulette Goddard, Chaplin was deeply and profoundly involved in the recording of the musical score. He spent days upon days in the recording studio writing themes, and only left when Paulette begged him.
Co-star Paulette Goddard actually made significant story contributions.
Discounting later parodies and novelty films, this was the last major American film to make use of silent film conventions such as title cards for dialogue. The very last dialogue title card of this film (and thus, it can be said, the entire silent era) belongs to The Tramp, who says "Buck up - never say die! We'll get along."
During filming, Paulette Goddard was still working for less than $100 a week as a chorus girl for the Goldwyn Studios.
In 2007, the American Film Institute ranked this as the #78 Greatest Movie of All Time.
Shown as the opening film at the newly restored Silent Movie Theatre (Los Angeles), by Charles Lustman' on November 7th, 1999.
Supposedly was to be Charles Chaplin's first full sound film, but instead, sound is used in a unique way: we hear spoken voices only when they come from mechanical devices, a symbol of the film's theme of technology and dehumanization. Specifically, voices are heard from:
- The videophones used by the factory president
- The phonographic Mechanical Salesman
- The radio in the prison warden's office
The film originally ended with Charles Chaplin's character suffering a nervous breakdown and being visited in hospital by the gamin, who has now become a nun. This ending was filmed, though apparently only still photographs from the scene exist today (they are included in the 2003 DVD release of the film). Chaplin dropped this ending and shot a different, more hopeful ending instead.
The Little Tramp's last words: "Smile! C'mon!" (it is easy to read Charles Chaplin's lips at the very end of the film).
The singers in the restaurant are also heard, and some scenes include sound effects.
This was one of the films which, because of its political sentiments, convinced the House Un-American Activities Committee that Charles Chaplin was a Communist, a charge he adamantly denied.