Chaplin's first complete talkie and it's fascinating to see the way the structures of his silent films are translated into a unique blend of slapstick, wordplay, parody, and pointed political commentary. This is Chaplin's brilliant and heartfelt plea for world peace in an era of rising
fascism and mass annihilation.
Chaplin, well aware of the ironic physical similarity between his sweet Little Tramp and Adolf Hitler, casts himself in a dual role as a nameless Jewish barber and as Adenoid Hynkel, Dictator of Tomania. The barber, a soldier for the German Army in WWI, awakens from a state of amnesia to learn
that Hynkel, the country's new dictator, is calling for the persecution of all Jews. The barber's friend, Hannah (Paulette Goddard), is forced to flee the country; his barber shop is defaced and burned and he is arrested and sent to a concentration camp for sheltering an old friend, Schultz
Filled with equal parts of humanity, outrage, and comedy, THE GREAT DICTATOR contains some of Chaplin's finest moments, including the famous upside-down flying sequence in which the barber doesn't even realize that he's not flying upright, Hynkel's fiery speech, delivered in an unintelligible
German-English gibberish, and the film's scene of great genius, Hynkel's "ballet" with an air-filled globe of the world--tossing it, kicking it, adoring it, and, finally, destroying it as only a dictator dreaming of world domination could. The power of this strangely haunting film is enhanced by
the realization that the extremes of human nature in the first half of this century were personified by these two mustached figures--Hitler and the Little Tramp.
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- Rating: NR
- Review: Chaplin's first complete talkie and it's fascinating to see the way the structures of his silent films are translated into a unique blend of slapstick, wordplay, parody, and pointed political commentary. This is Chaplin's brilliant and heartfelt plea for w… (more)