Starring: Charlie Chaplin, Paulette Goddard, and Jack Oakie
Director: Charlie Chaplin
Rating: Nine of Ten Stars
A Jewish barber (Chaplin) is mistaken for the Great Dictator of Tomania, Adenoid Hynkel (also Chaplin) and the opportunity to free a nation from tyranny is created.
"The Great Dictator" was Charlie Chaplin's first film that featured a full soundtrack, and it is perhaps his greatest masterpiece. It is a spot-on skewering of Hitler and Mussolini and a sharp criticism of fascism made at a time when much of America's intellectual elite could still be heard saying nice things about it. It was also made at a time when Hollywood's powerbrokers were concerned about making movies that might offend the fascist regimes of Europe for fear of their bottom lines.
This movie is one of the few true classic films that have ever been made. Although its exact political context is gone, the message is carries--a defense of freedom, peace, and equality--remains as relevant today as it was then.
The warning it carries is also relevant, because just like in 1940, the "intellectual elite" and the powerful media moguls are once again refusing to use their platform responsibly and speak out against an obvious threat to peace and freedom that grows steadily worse with each passing week... and whose actions claim hundreds of innocent lives all around the world every week. No, I'm not speaking of Barack Obama or his predecessor George Bush... I'm speaking of Islamo-fascism and its terrorist foot soldiers.
If only there were filmmakers who would point fingers at the real evils that are threatening peace in the modern world instead of attempting to ingratiate themselves with it and appease it. Oliver Stone should not be white-washing Hitler in accordance with the agenda held by his buddies in Iran HIS version of "The Great Dictator". Amercian newspapers shouldn't be censoring or ignoring cartoons that mock Islamic fascists--they should be printing more of them.
Filmmakers across the free world should watch "The Great Dictator". They should attempt to do what Chaplin did, or they should hang their cowardly heads in shame. Scumbags like Danny Glover, Sean Penn and Oliver Stone should be FORCED to watch it until they break down like some character in Clockwork Orange.
(Regardless of your opinions of geo-politics, past or present, you need to see this movie, which unfolds like a nifty little fable. Chaplin is fabulous in a dual role of a Jewish barber who just happens to be an exact twin for the and the fascist dictator of Tomania, Hyenkle. Chaplin's Hitler impersonation is hilarious, and the legendary scene where he dances with a globe of the world in full Fuehrer get-up in one of cinema's Top Ten Greatest scenes. That said, this classic film is currently out of print. I wonder if it hits too close to home for whoever presently controls the rights to it, that whoever it is can see that the Hollywood mainstream and powerful are just as cowardly and misguided now as they were in the 1930s and 1940s.)