Much as I appreciate the daring artistic risks made with this movie, I think its relative dearth of conflict really hurts it, especially as a two-hour film. I'd say the gags are about 50/50 (some of the political gags are really clever), and the blunt-force moralizing by way of the heroine is a tad hard to stomach, but the real issues pertain to conflict and trouble with properly balancing the two lead characters.
I'd hoped that adding sound would make Chaplin more interesting. NOPE. Somehow, the jokes feel even more dated and the gags fall even flatter. How many times do I need to watch this man fall over??? The story is a tonal mess, whiplashing wildly around from ultra-serious to goofy slapstick and back. And Chaplin plays two characters which comes off as a bizarre, nonsensical gimmick. A total train wreck. It gets an F.
I find it to be very strange: the odd rhythms of someone who had resisted dialogued scenes for quite long, the adaptation of a kind of comedy to darker times (Chaplin had never been naive, though). Sometimes it succeeds (coins and puddings, puppet masses, a canary,...), and other times film had to give way to more urgent ways of communication (yes, I mean the ending, with one or two fallacies, but powerfully acted).
Chaplin's first full talkie is one of the most powerful statements the cinema has ever made. This was controversy before Rogen and Franco came out with The Interview. In all fairness, Chaplin had the mustache before Hitler did. This is also a good example of how comedy can be used to talk about serious issues.
Our Daily Free Stream: Charles Chaplin - The Great dictator. Zum Geburtstag von Charlie Chaplin! - 1938 begann der grösste Filmstar der Welt einen Film vorzubereiten über das Monster des 20. Jahrhunderts. Ein bisschen ähnelte Charlie Chaplin Adolf Hitler, zumindest trugen beide denselben Schnurrbart. Auf dieser Gemeinsamkeit baut die Satire The Great Dictator auf(...)