In the classic 1936 film Modern Times, silent film star Charlie Chaplin plays a poor American worker during the industrialization of the Machine Age. A bit into the film, he acquires a job as a night watchman in a department store and lets in a penniless young woman, played by Paulette Goddard, to experience its luxuries. When they both try on roller skates in the store’s toy department, a classic scene comes to life.

Spoiler alert! Chaplin was never in danger while filming. The gif below shows how a visual effect technique called a ‘glass matte painting shot’ helped them accomplish the harrowing scene.

Be sure to watch the illusion in the scene above again to find the moment when his back wheel briefly disappears behind the matte.

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Read more about Modern Times at Wikipedia. Then watch another classic scene from the movie on this site—Charlie Chaplin & the Billows Feeding Machine—or watch the entire film on Amazon.

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