Truth at its Finest – The Great Dictator (1940)

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Charlie Chaplin is one of the greatest filmmakers in motion picture history. Robert Downey, Jr. brilliantly portrayed his tremendous talent and career in the 1992 film “Chaplin”. I’ve always loved Chaplin not just because of his comedic gifts but like myself, he stood firm in the belief that art is political. A position which caused him to be kicked out of the United States for “subversive” beliefs.

 

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Sir Charles SpencerCharlieChaplin, (16 April 1889 – 25 December 1977) was an English comic actor, filmmaker, and composer who rose to fame during the era of silent film. Chaplin became a worldwide icon through his screen persona “the Tramp” and is considered one of the most important figures in the history of the film industry.

 

His career spanned more than 75 years, from childhood in the Victorian era until a year before his death in 1977, and encompassed both adulation and controversy. (Wikipedia)

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Charlie Chaplin

Probably the most prophetic film of his extraordinary career was “The Great Dictator” (1940). Chaplin’s final speech resonates at the core of what it means to be human today just as it did over 75 years ago. Written by Chaplin, it emphasizes just how vital it is to know your history because those who don’t are doomed to repeat it.

 

Created in direct opposition to Hitler’s reign of terror, Chaplin warns of the devastation of giving up our humanity and implores us to love each other.

The Great Dictator is the 1940 American political satire comedy-drama film written, directed, produced, scored by and starring Charlie Chaplin. Charlie Chaplin was unique because he was the only Hollywood filmmaker to continue to make silent films well into the period of sound films, this was Chaplin’s first true sound film.

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This scene is so beautiful in its simplicity and elegance; while at the same time mocking the hubris of Hitler, the genocide, antisemitic dictator.

Language similar to a candidate running for President in 2016. Same delusional dream.

Chaplin’s film is a scathing and controversial condemnation of Adolf Hitler, Benito Mussolini, fascism, antisemitism, and the Nazis. At the time the film was released, the United States hadn’t entered into World War II and the fight against Nazi Germany.

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After seeing this masterpiece, my respect and admiration for Chaplin grew even more. He spoke up when others wouldn’t. That’s the kind of morality and integrity that seems to be sorely lacking in today’s politics.

Chaplin was so talented, and for even more contrast, played both leading roles: a ruthless fascist dictator, and a persecuted Jewish barber.

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Charlie Chaplin as Adenoid Hynkel (Hitler) and the Jewish Barber

The Great Dictator was popular with audiences, becoming Chaplin’s most commercially successful film. Modern critics have also praised it as a historically significant film and an important work of satire. (Wikipedia)

The Great Dictator was nominated for five Academy Awards – Outstanding Production, Best Actor, Best Writing (Original Screenplay), Best Supporting Actor for Jack Oakie, and Best Music (Original Score).

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In his 1964 autobiography, Chaplin stated that he could not have made the film if he had known about the true extent of the horrors of the Nazi concentration camps at the time. (Wikipedia)

 

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At the end of his life, Chaplin was finally awarded the respect and accolades befitting of his expansive career and achievements. This is Sir Charles accepting his honorary Academy Award in 1972. I watched this presentation and cried with admiration the entire time.

 

Thank you, Charlie.💖

 

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