HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
Iceman
Blue Sky
Tokyo Dragon Chef
Pittsburgh
12 Hour Shift
Intergalactic Adventures of Max Cloud, The
Spoilers, The
Killer Therapy
Man Upstairs, The
Bloodhound, The
New Mutants, The
Tesla
Flame of New Orleans, The
Ham on Rye
Imperial Blue
Tenet
August 32nd on Earth
Don is Dead, The
Seven Sinners
Body of Water
Away
Soul
About Endlessness
Let It Snow
Ava
Deliver Us from Evil
Shark Attack 3: Megalodon
Midnight Sky, The
Lego Star Wars Holiday Special, The
Mon Oncle Antoine
Blast of Silence
Blackout, The
Stars in Your Eyes
Alone
Climate of the Hunter
Farewell Amor
Let's Scare Julie
Okko's Inn
Shaolin vs. Wu Tang
Fatman
   
 
Newest Articles
The Price of Plague: The Masque of the Red Death on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Seance on a Wet Afternoon and Ring of Spies
Chaney Chillers: Inner Sanctum Mysteries - The Complete Film Series on Blu-ray
Adelphi Extras: Stars in Your Eyes on Blu-ray
Toons for the Heads: Fantastic Planet and Adult Animation
Nature Girl: The New World on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Perfect Friday and Robbery
Network Double Bills: The House in Nightmare Park and The Man Who Haunted Himself
Newley Minted: The Strange World of Gurney Slade on Blu-ray
Bad Love: The Night Porter on Blu-ray
Brevity is the Soul of Weird: Short Sharp Shocks on Blu-ray
Get Your Ass to Mars: Total Recall on Blu-ray
Call the Professionals: Le Cercle Rouge on Blu-ray
When There's No More Room in Hell: Dawn of the Dead on Blu-ray
The Butterfly Effect: Mothra on Blu-ray
Living Room Theatre: Play for Today Volume 1 on Blu-ray
Didn't He Do Well: The Bruce Forsyth Show on DVD
Blood Wedding: The Bride with White Hair on Blu-ray
The Inhuman Element: The Ladykillers on 4K UHD
As You Like It, Baby: Breathless on Blu-ray
Stargazing: Light Entertainment Rarities on DVD
Down to the Welles: Orson Welles Great Mysteries Volume 2 on DVD
Herding Cats: Sleepwalkers on Blu-ray
Confessions of a Porn Star: Adult Material on DVD
They're Still Not Sure It is a Baby: Eraserhead on Blu-ray
   
 
  Great Dictator, The All This And World War Two
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, WarBuy from Amazon
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 5139 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 probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Darren Jones
Andrew Pragasam
Stately Wayne Manor
Enoch Sneed
  Geraint Morgan
Paul Smith
  Lee Fiveash
   

 

Last Updated: