HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Horrible Histories: The Movie - Rotten Romans
Pentathlon
Anna
Moulin Rouge
Ray & Liz
African Queen, The
Helen Morgan Story, The
Golem, Der
Yentl
Finishing Line, The
Triple Threat
Mysterious Castle in the Carpathians, The
Driven
Planet of the Dinosaurs
Gwen
Big Breadwinner Hog
Thunder Road
Moby Dick
Frankenstein's Great Aunt Tillie
Mad Room, The
Phantom of the Megaplex
Night Sitter, The
Child's Play
Power, The
Midsommar
After Midnight
Dolemite is My Name
Varda by Agnes
Toy Story 4
Master Z: Ip Man Legacy
Man Who Never Was, The
Greener Grass
Scobie Malone
Gangster, the Cop, the Devil, The
Brightburn
Satanic Panic
Claudine
Harpoon
Great Northfield Minnesota Raid, The
Dark Phoenix
   
 
Newest Articles
Sorry I Missed You: Les Demoiselles de Rochefort on Blu-ray
Silliest of the Silly: Monty Python's Flying Circus Series 1 on Blu-ray
Protest Songs: Hair on Blu-ray
Peak 80s Schwarzenegger: The Running Man and Red Heat
Rock On: That'll Be the Day and Stardust on Blu-ray
Growing Up in Public: 7-63 Up on Blu-ray
Learn Your Craft: Legend of the Witches and Secret Rites on Blu-ray
70s Psycho-Thrillers! And Soon the Darkness and Fright on Blu-ray
Split: Stephen King and George A. Romero's The Dark Half on Blu-ray
Disney Post-Walt: Three Gamechangers
But Doctor, I Am Pagliacci: Tony Hancock's The Rebel and The Punch and Judy Man on Blu-ray
Once Upon a Time in Deadwood: Interview with Director Rene Perez
Shit-Eating Grim: Salo, or the 120 Days of Sodom on Blu-ray
Stallone's 80s Action Alpha and Omega: Nighthawks and Lock Up
Python Prehistory: At Last the 1948 Show and Do Not Adjust Your Set on DVD
You Could Grow to Love This Place: Local Hero on Blu-ray
Anglo-American: Joseph Losey Blu-ray Double Bill - The Criminal and The Go-Between
Marvel's Least Loved and Most Loved: Fantastic 4 vs Avengers: Endgame
Battle of the Skeksis: The Dark Crystal Now and Then
American Madness: Sam Fuller's Shock Corridor and The Naked Kiss on Blu-ray
Flight of the Navigator and the 80s Futurekids
Trains and Training: The British Transport Films Collection Volume 13 on DVD
Holiday from Hell: In Bruges on Blu-ray
The Comedy Stylings of Kurt Russell: Used Cars and Captain Ron
Robot Rocked: The Avengers Cybernauts Trilogy on Blu-ray
   
 
  Great Dictator, The All This And World War TwoBuy this film here.
Year: 1940
Director: Charles Chaplin
Stars: Charlie Chaplin, Paulette Goddard, Jack Oakie, Reginald Gardiner, Henry Daniell, Billy Gilbert, Grace Hale, Carter DeHaven, Maurice Moscovitch, Emma Dunn, Bernard Gorcey, Paul Weigel, Chester Conklin, Esther Michelson, Hank Mann, Florence Wright
Genre: Comedy, Drama, War
Rating:  6 (from 2 votes)
Review: At the end of the Great War, one soldier (Charlie Chaplin) on the side of the antagonistic Tomania is having trouble keeping up with his countrymen and their lust for battle glory. He is supposed to be operating the huge cannon which is pointed at Notre Dame cathedral miles away, but the shell misses by quite some distance, and the second attempt leaves the following shell revolving on the ground nearby. When enemy planes fly overhead, the soldier is no better at shooting at them, and he ends up helping one Schultz (Reginald Gardiner), a pilot in trouble. But when he loses his memory in a crash, he is unaware of the path his country is taking...

Possibly Charles Chaplin's most controversial film, it's certainly the one which divides opinion into those who see it as an embarrassment and a case of bad judgement, and those who regard it as a vital and necessary attack on what was a looming and devastating menace to the free world. That menace was of course the Nazis and fascism in general, and Chaplin's main target was Adolf Hitler, who here is spoofed as the Adenoid Hynkel character - let us not forget many Americans did not see the big deal about his rise to power when this project was begun in the mid-thirties. So the question remains, how much did the filmmaker know about the Nazi atrocities when he was making the production?

According to Chaplin afterwards, he would not have made the film if he had known about the Holocaust and the persecution to the point of death of the minorities and left-wingers the fascists hated, but there are those who believe he was well aware of the situation in Europe and all that it entailed. It's hard to accept that the way in which Chaplin defends the Jews as he does here was not born out some kind of horror at their treatment, and at one point his Jewish barber character is sent to a concentration camp, although the character is not executed (he escapes).

The barber is the same man as the soldier we saw in the introduction, with the star playing two roles as the dictator and one of the victims of his regime. Also in the film is Paulette Goddard, Chaplin's wife at the time, playing the neighbour of the barber (who is never named) he falls in love with despite the dire circumstances they find themselves in. As they suffer in the ghetto, Hynkel closes his iron grip on the population and draws up his plans to invade other countries, an ambition encapsulated by the famous scene where he toys with a balloon of the globe as if it were his own personal plaything. The film is full of these outwardly humorous but actually grim passages, and that's part of the problem.

When Chaplin recreates the notorious speeches of Hitler, he uses a made up version of German to turn him into the cartoonish figure he seemed to those not part of his country in newsreel footage. It's a clever impersonation, as much of the skewering of this targets is clever, but is it funny? Not especially, largely because there's a steeliness behind every gag that might provoke a tacit nod of the head, but little to cause one to laugh out loud. The Great Dictator is all "I see what you did there", worthy of one who wishes to be taken seriously on the world stage without doing much for his reputation as a comedian. It is fascinating to witness one of the most famous men who ever lived squaring up to another, and there's no doubt that Chaplin comes off better, yet as the impassioned speech that climaxes the film shows, the best intentions do not make for brilliant works of art all on their own. Music by Meredith Willson.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 4113 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (1)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star do you think makes the best coffee?
Emma Stone
Anna Kendrick
Michelle Rodriguez
Sir Patrick Stewart
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Andrew Pragasam
Enoch Sneed
Darren Jones
Paul Smith
  Rachel Franke
Paul Shrimpton
  Desbris M
   

 

Last Updated: