Sunday Feature-Week 16:The Great Dictator (1940)
Title: The Great Dictator
Tone: Chaplin takes on Hitler in the gutsiest Anti-Nazi film ever made.
Director-Charlie Chaplin/Wheeler Dryden
Cast- Charlie Chaplin, Paulette Goddard
What: Charlie Chaplin’s Nazi satire about a Jewish barber who is mistaken for Germany’s vicious dictator Adenoid Hynkel.
- Charlie Chaplin’s birthday has just passed (April 16th,1889) and Adolf Hitler’s birthday is looming (April 20th,1889) and what better way to celebrate than by watching Chaplin ridicule Hitler and the Nazi party in The Great Dictator.
- Filmed during the rise of the Nazi party and their escalation of oppression and violence, financed entirely by Chaplin, the only major motion picture satirizing Hitler and the Nazi party made during this period, production personally encouraged by Franklin Roosevelt when United Artists began to express reservations about the film being made, and despite the U.S being in a state of neutrality with Germany, Chaplin was determined to laugh at Hitler and Nazism which makes The Great Dictator the gutsiest anti-Nazi film ever made.
- Asides from taking on the Nazis, The Great Dictator marks a significant turn in Chaplin’s career as it is his first “talking picture” and also marks the last appearance of “the Tramp”, Chaplin’s famous bowler hat and cane outfit.
- Selected for preservation in the National Film Registry for its significance, nominated for five Academy Awards, and Chaplin’s highest grossing film, The Great Dictator is simply one of the greatest films ever made and furthermore one of the ballsiest. Below is a nice little clip, one of my personal favorite moments from the film, wherein Adenoid Hynkel gives a speech. Enjoy!