In his controversial masterpiece The Great Dictator, Charlie Chaplin offers both a cutting caricature of Adolf Hitler and a sly tweaking of his own comic persona. Chaplin, in his first pure talkie, brings his sublime physicality to two roles: the cruel yet clownish “Tomainian” dictator and the kindly Jewish barber who is mistaken for him. Featuring Jack Oakie and Paulette Goddard in stellar supporting turns, The Great Dictator, boldly going after the fascist leader before the U.S.’s official entry into World War II, is an audacious amalgam of politics and slapstick that culminates in Chaplin’s famously impassioned speech. –The Criterion Collection
Charlie Chaplin, considered to be one of the most pivotal stars of the early days of Hollywood, lived an interesting life both in his films and behind the camera. He is most recognized as an icon of the silent film era, often associated with his popular “Little Tramp” character; the man with the toothbrush mustache, bowler hat, bamboo cane, and a funny walk. Charles Spencer Chaplin was born in Walworth, London, England on April 26th, 1889 to Charles and Hannah (Hill) Chaplin, both music hall performers, who were married on June 22nd, 1885. After Charles Sr. separated from Hannah to perform in New York City, Hannah then tried to resurrect her stage career. Unfortunately, her singing voice had a tendency to break at unexpected moments. When this happened, the stage manager spotted young Charlie standing in the wings and led him on stage, where five-year-old Charlie began to sing a popular tune. Charlie and his half-brother, Syd Chaplin (born Sydney Hawkes), spent their lives in and out… read more
The original hipster...making fun of Hitler before it was cool. Awesome film tho. And the speech at the end...still relevant today. If you don't want to watch the film you should still watch his final speech.
Audacious, hilarious and perfectly timed social satire marked Chaplin's first foray into 'talkies'. With America just on the verge of the war, Chaplin lampooned what was happening in Germany and Italy with this frankly unveiled attack. At times funny, at others quite moving with a final speech that in historical context was quite inflammatory. Essential cinema.
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"More than fifty years have passed since critics rediscovered Buster Keaton and pronounced him the most 'modern' silent film clown, a title
"You think you don't want to see a Chaplin movie," writes Andrew O'Hehir in Salon. "You imagine it'll be insipid, boring and somehow culturally
Of all the home video outfits doing business in the United States that have a continuing investment in repertory cinema, or, as a certain segment
The movies' gift to you this Christmas Day: Robert Downey Jr and Jude Law, Meryl Streep, Alec Baldwin and Steve Martin as well as Heath Ledger
My friends and I hold a movie night once a week, and my picks have consisted of Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, Rope, Do the Right Thing and Rebecca. I reached the point where I couldn’t put… read review
Another classic I saw at the Cleveland Institute of Art Cinematheque. Unique experience hearing Chaplin speak, seeing him play two roles, and enjoying the political farce! Lots of awesome comic characters… read review