The Great Dictator (1940)

Passed   |    |  Comedy, Drama, War


The Great Dictator (1940) Poster

Dictator Adenoid Hynkel tries to expand his empire while a poor Jewish barber tries to avoid persecution from Hynkel's regime.

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8.5/10
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  • Charles Chaplin and Paulette Goddard in The Great Dictator (1940)
  • Charlie Chaplin at a press conference for the premiere of "The Great Dictator" Waldorf Astoria Hotel, New York City October 1940
  • Charles Chaplin and Jack Oakie in The Great Dictator (1940)
  • The Great Dictator (1940)
  • Charles Chaplin in The Great Dictator (1940)
  • Charles Chaplin in The Great Dictator (1940)

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Director:

Charles Chaplin

Writer:

Charles Chaplin

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9 January 2001 | lugonian
9
| The Man With Hitler's Face
"The Great Dictator" (United Artists, 1940), became the long awaited talking debut of silent film comedian, Charlie Chaplin (who also wrote and directed), in a political satire on Adolph Hitler, only the way Chaplin dared to do at the time. He plays a Jewish barber and Hynkel, dictator of Tomania. Some of the humor cannot really be absorbed at first glance, but after repeated viewing, it gets better. My personal classic moment occurs with Chaplin in the barber shop working on a bald-headed customer by giving him a shave while listening to a classical composition on the radio, never missing a beat. Co-starring opposite Chaplin for the second and final time is Paulette Goddard as Hannah. Goddard became the only Chaplin leading lady to ever make a success on her own while the others just drifted to "B" movies or faded away. Jack Oakie as Napaloni, the Dictator of Bacteria (a spoof on Mussolini), appears late in the story but shares with Chaplin some of its brilliant comedic moments. Both Chaplin and Oakie earned Academy Award nominations for their performances (Chaplin for Best Actor/Oakie for Best Supporting Actor), but no wins. Henry Daniell as Garbitsch and Reginald Gardiner as Schultz also share the spotlight. Aside from Chaplin's screenplay in poking fun of its then current issues on European invasion by the Nazis, "The Great Dictator" expertly blends satire with dramatic overtones. Its closing scene in which Chaplin makes a speech pleading for all people to follow the path of peace, brotherhood and democracy, is not to be missed. Whether this movie is above or beyond the Marx Brothers' "Duck Soup" (Paramount, 1933) is anyone's matter of taste. (***)

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Genres

Comedy | Drama | War

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