The Great Dictator
Overview
 
The Great Dictator is a comedy film
Comedy film
Comedy film is a genre of film in which the main emphasis is on humour. They are designed to elicit laughter from the audience. Comedies are mostly light-hearted dramas and are made to amuse and entertain the audiences...

 by Charlie Chaplin
Charlie Chaplin
Sir Charles Spencer "Charlie" Chaplin, KBE was an English comic actor, film director and composer best known for his work during the silent film era. He became the most famous film star in the world before the end of World War I...

 released in October 1940. Like most Chaplin films, he wrote, produced, and directed, in addition to starring as the lead. Having been the only Hollywood film maker to continue to make silent films well into the period of sound films, this was Chaplin's first true talking picture  as well as his most commercially successful film. More importantly, it was the first major feature film of its period to bitterly satirize Nazism
Nazism
Nazism, the common short form name of National Socialism was the ideology and practice of the Nazi Party and of Nazi Germany...

 and Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler was an Austrian-born German politician and the leader of the National Socialist German Workers Party , commonly referred to as the Nazi Party). He was Chancellor of Germany from 1933 to 1945, and head of state from 1934 to 1945...

.

At the time of its first release, the United States was still formally at peace with Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany , also known as the Third Reich , but officially called German Reich from 1933 to 1943 and Greater German Reich from 26 June 1943 onward, is the name commonly used to refer to the state of Germany from 1933 to 1945, when it was a totalitarian dictatorship ruled by...

.
Encyclopedia
The Great Dictator is a comedy film
Comedy film
Comedy film is a genre of film in which the main emphasis is on humour. They are designed to elicit laughter from the audience. Comedies are mostly light-hearted dramas and are made to amuse and entertain the audiences...

 by Charlie Chaplin
Charlie Chaplin
Sir Charles Spencer "Charlie" Chaplin, KBE was an English comic actor, film director and composer best known for his work during the silent film era. He became the most famous film star in the world before the end of World War I...

 released in October 1940. Like most Chaplin films, he wrote, produced, and directed, in addition to starring as the lead. Having been the only Hollywood film maker to continue to make silent films well into the period of sound films, this was Chaplin's first true talking picture  as well as his most commercially successful film. More importantly, it was the first major feature film of its period to bitterly satirize Nazism
Nazism
Nazism, the common short form name of National Socialism was the ideology and practice of the Nazi Party and of Nazi Germany...

 and Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler was an Austrian-born German politician and the leader of the National Socialist German Workers Party , commonly referred to as the Nazi Party). He was Chancellor of Germany from 1933 to 1945, and head of state from 1934 to 1945...

.

At the time of its first release, the United States was still formally at peace with Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany , also known as the Third Reich , but officially called German Reich from 1933 to 1943 and Greater German Reich from 26 June 1943 onward, is the name commonly used to refer to the state of Germany from 1933 to 1945, when it was a totalitarian dictatorship ruled by...

. Chaplin's film advanced a stirring, controversial condemnation of Hitler, fascism, antisemitism, and the Nazis, whom he excoriates in the film as "machine men, with machine minds and machine hearts".

Plot

The film begins during a battle of World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

. The protagonist
Protagonist
A protagonist is the main character of a literary, theatrical, cinematic, or musical narrative, around whom the events of the narrative's plot revolve and with whom the audience is intended to most identify...

 is an unnamed Jewish private (Charlie Chaplin), a barber by profession, and is fighting for the Central Powers
Central Powers
The Central Powers were one of the two warring factions in World War I , composed of the German Empire, the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the Ottoman Empire, and the Kingdom of Bulgaria...

 in the army of the fictional nation of Tomainia (an allusion to ptomaine poisoning), comically blundering through the trenches in combat scenes. Upon hearing a fatigued pilot pleading for help, the private attempts to rescue the exhausted officer, Commander Schultz (Reginald Gardiner
Reginald Gardiner
Reginald Gardiner was an English-born actor in film and television and a graduate of the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts in Britain. His parents wanted him to be an architect and he studied at it but he wanted to be an actor and eventually got his way.He started as a super on stage and eventually...

). The two board Schultz's nearby airplane and fly off, escaping enemy fire in the nick of time. Schultz reveals that he is carrying important dispatches that could win the Tomainian war. However, the plane loses fuel and crashes in a marsh. They both survive, but the private suffers from memory loss. As medics arrive, Commander Schultz gives them the dispatches, but is told that the war has just ended and Tomainia lost.

The scene cuts to victory celebrations, newspaper headlines, the hospitalization and release of the private, and to a speech given twenty years later by Adenoid Hynkel (cf.
Cf.
cf., an abbreviation for the Latin word confer , literally meaning "bring together", is used to refer to other material or ideas which may provide similar or different information or arguments. It is mainly used in scholarly contexts, such as in academic or legal texts...

 Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler was an Austrian-born German politician and the leader of the National Socialist German Workers Party , commonly referred to as the Nazi Party). He was Chancellor of Germany from 1933 to 1945, and head of state from 1934 to 1945...

), also played by Chaplin, now the ruthless dictator
Dictator
A dictator is a ruler who assumes sole and absolute power but without hereditary ascension such as an absolute monarch. When other states call the head of state of a particular state a dictator, that state is called a dictatorship...

 of Tomainia, who has undertaken to persecute Jews throughout the land, aided by Minister of the Interior Garbitsch (compare Joseph Goebbels
Joseph Goebbels
Paul Joseph Goebbels was a German politician and Reich Minister of Propaganda in Nazi Germany from 1933 to 1945. As one of Adolf Hitler's closest associates and most devout followers, he was known for his zealous oratory and anti-Semitism...

, played by Henry Daniell
Henry Daniell
Henry Daniell was an English actor, best known for his villainous movie roles, but who had a long and prestigious career on stage as well as in films....

) and Minister of War Herring (compare Hermann Göring
Hermann Göring
Hermann Wilhelm Göring, was a German politician, military leader, and a leading member of the Nazi Party. He was a veteran of World War I as an ace fighter pilot, and a recipient of the coveted Pour le Mérite, also known as "The Blue Max"...

, played by Billy Gilbert
Billy Gilbert
Billy Gilbert was an American comedian and actor known for his comic sneeze routines. He appeared in over 200 feature films, short subjects and television shows starting in 1929. He is not to be confused with silent film actor Billy Gilbert Billy Gilbert (September 12, 1894 – September 23,...

). The symbol of Hynkel's fascist regime is the "double cross" (compare the Nazi swastika
Swastika
The swastika is an equilateral cross with its arms bent at right angles, in either right-facing form in counter clock motion or its mirrored left-facing form in clock motion. Earliest archaeological evidence of swastika-shaped ornaments dates back to the Indus Valley Civilization of Ancient...

) and Hynkel himself speaks in a macaronic parody
Parody
A parody , in current usage, is an imitative work created to mock, comment on, or trivialise an original work, its subject, author, style, or some other target, by means of humorous, satiric or ironic imitation...

 of the German language
German language
German is a West Germanic language, related to and classified alongside English and Dutch. With an estimated 90 – 98 million native speakers, German is one of the world's major languages and is the most widely-spoken first language in the European Union....

 (reminiscent of Hitler's own fiery speeches), "translated" at humorously obvious parts in the speech by an overly concise English-speaking news voice-over
Voice-over
Voice-over is a production technique where a voice which is not part of the narrative is used in a radio, television production, filmmaking, theatre, or other presentations...

.
The Jewish private/barber had been hospitalized for the past twenty years, having suffered memory loss
Amnesia
Amnesia is a condition in which one's memory is lost. The causes of amnesia have traditionally been divided into categories. Memory appears to be stored in several parts of the limbic system of the brain, and any condition that interferes with the function of this system can cause amnesia...

 from the plane crash, and is blissfully unaware of Hynkel's rise to power. He returns to his barbershop in the Jewish ghetto and is shocked when storm troopers
Sturmabteilung
The Sturmabteilung functioned as a paramilitary organization of the National Socialist German Workers' Party . It played a key role in Adolf Hitler's rise to power in the 1920s and 1930s...

 paint "Jew" on the windows of his shop. In his ensuing slapstick
Slapstick
Slapstick is a type of comedy involving exaggerated violence and activities which may exceed the boundaries of common sense.- Origins :The phrase comes from the batacchio or bataccio — called the 'slap stick' in English — a club-like object composed of two wooden slats used in Commedia dell'arte...

 scuffle with the stormtroopers, Hannah (Paulette Goddard
Paulette Goddard
Paulette Goddard was an American film and theatre actress. A former child fashion model and in several Broadway productions as Ziegfeld Girl, she was a major star of the Paramount Studio in the 1940s. She was married to several notable men, including Charlie Chaplin, Burgess Meredith, and Erich...

), a beautiful resident of the ghetto, knocks both Stormtroopers on the head with a frying pan. The barber finds a friend and ultimately a love interest in Hannah. Soon, the barber is attacked by Stormtroopers, but is saved when Commander Schultz, now a high official in Hynkel's government, intervenes. Schultz recognizes the barber (who is reminded of the war by Schultz and therefore gets his memory back). Though surprised to find him a Jew, Schultz orders the storm troopers to leave him and Hannah alone.

Hynkel, in addition, has relaxed his stance on Tomainian Jewry in an attempt to woo a Jewish financier into giving him a loan
Loan
A loan is a type of debt. Like all debt instruments, a loan entails the redistribution of financial assets over time, between the lender and the borrower....

 to support his regime. Egged on by Garbitsch, Hynkel has become obsessed with the idea of world domination. In one famous scene, Hynkel dances with a large, inflatable globe
Globe
A globe is a three-dimensional scale model of Earth or other spheroid celestial body such as a planet, star, or moon...

, while thinking of being Emperor of the world to the tune of the Prelude to Act I of Richard Wagner
Richard Wagner
Wilhelm Richard Wagner was a German composer, conductor, theatre director, philosopher, music theorist, poet, essayist and writer primarily known for his operas...

's Lohengrin
Lohengrin (opera)
Lohengrin is a romantic opera in three acts composed and written by Richard Wagner, first performed in 1850. The story of the eponymous character is taken from medieval German romance, notably the Parzival of Wolfram von Eschenbach and its sequel, Lohengrin, written by a different author, itself...

at the end of which it suddenly pops in his hands.

On Garbitsch's advice, Hynkel has planned to invade the neighboring country of Osterlich (likely a corruption of Österreich, the German name for Austria) and needs the loan to finance the invasion. When the Jewish financier refuses, Hynkel reinstates and intensifies his persecution of the Jews. Schultz voices his objection to the pogrom
Pogrom
A pogrom is a form of violent riot, a mob attack directed against a minority group, and characterized by killings and destruction of their homes and properties, businesses, and religious centres...

 and shows his empathy towards Jews; Hynkel denounces Schultz as a supporter of democracy and a traitor, and orders him placed in a concentration camp. Schultz flees to the ghetto and begins planning to overthrow the Hynkel regime.

Schultz, along with the barber, Hannah, and other members of the ghetto, meet to discuss their subversive plot. Schultz announces that in order to decide who will carry out a suicide mission
Suicide mission
The term suicide mission commonly refers to a task which is so dangerous for the people involved that they are not expected to survive. The term is sometimes extended to, but is not limited to, suicide attacks such as kamikaze and suicide bombings, where the people involved actively commit suicide...

 to blow up Hynkel's palace, he has placed a coin in one of five puddings, and the person who receives the one with the coin in it is to carry out the mission. However, Hannah instead placed a coin in every dessert, leading to one of Chaplin's most comical scenes. Ultimately, all decide it is best to heed Hannah's advice not to attempt the suicide mission. After trying to evade the storm troopers, both Schultz and the barber are captured and condemned to the camp.
Hynkel is initially opposed by Benzino Napaloni (a portmanteau of Benito Mussolini
Benito Mussolini
Benito Amilcare Andrea Mussolini was an Italian politician who led the National Fascist Party and is credited with being one of the key figures in the creation of Fascism....

, Napoleon Bonaparte, and benzene
Benzene
Benzene is an organic chemical compound. It is composed of 6 carbon atoms in a ring, with 1 hydrogen atom attached to each carbon atom, with the molecular formula C6H6....

, played by Jack Oakie
Jack Oakie
Jack Oakie was an American actor, starring mostly in films, but also working on stage, radio and television.-Early life:...

), dictator of Bacteria, in his plans to invade Osterlich. Hynkel invites Napaloni to talk the situation over in Tomainia, and attempts to impress Napaloni with a display of military might and psychological warfare. He invites Napaloni to a military show. The show turns out to be a disaster. After some friction, and a comedic food fight between the two leaders, a deal is made. Hynkel immediately breaks the deal, and the invasion proceeds again. Hannah had emigrated to Osterlich to escape Hynkel, but once again finds herself living under Hynkel's regime.

Schultz and the barber escape from the camp wearing Tomainian uniforms. Border guards mistake the barber for Hynkel, to whom he is nearly identical in appearance. Conversely, Hynkel, on a duck-hunting trip, falls overboard and is mistaken for the barber and is arrested by his own soldiers.

The barber, now assuming Hynkel's identity, is taken to the capital of Osterlich to make a victory speech. Garbitsch, in introducing "Hynkel" to the throngs, decries free speech and argues for the subjugation of the Jews. The barber then makes a rousing speech, reversing Hynkel's anti-Semitic policies and declaring that Tomainia and Osterlich will now be a free nation and a democracy
Democracy
Democracy is generally defined as a form of government in which all adult citizens have an equal say in the decisions that affect their lives. Ideally, this includes equal participation in the proposal, development and passage of legislation into law...

. He calls for humanity in general to break free from dictatorships and use science and progress to make the world better instead.

Hannah hears the barber's speech on the radio, and is amazed when "Hynkel" addresses her directly: "Hannah, can you hear me? Wherever you are, look up, Hannah. The clouds are lifting. The sun is breaking through. We are coming out of the darkness into the light. We are coming into a new world, a kindlier world, where men will rise above their hate, their greed and brutality. Look up, Hannah. The soul of man has been given wings, and at last he is beginning to fly. He is flying into the rainbow—into the light of hope, into the future, the glorious future that belongs to you, to me, and to all of us. Look up, Hannah. Look up". Hannah looks up with an optimistic smile.

Cast and analysis

The film stars Chaplin in a double role as the Jewish barber, and as the fascist dictator (or "Phooey", parodying "Führer
Führer
Führer , alternatively spelled Fuehrer in both English and German when the umlaut is not available, is a German title meaning leader or guide now most associated with Adolf Hitler, who modelled it on Benito Mussolini's title il Duce, as well as with Georg von Schönerer, whose followers also...

") Hynkel, dictator of Tomania, clearly modeled on Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler was an Austrian-born German politician and the leader of the National Socialist German Workers Party , commonly referred to as the Nazi Party). He was Chancellor of Germany from 1933 to 1945, and head of state from 1934 to 1945...

. The Jewish barber has the bowler hat, cane, and moustache of Chaplin's famous Tramp
The Tramp
The Tramp, also known as The Little Tramp was Charlie Chaplin's most memorable on-screen character, a recognized icon of world cinema most dominant during the silent film era....

 character, though early in the film's production Chaplin insisted the barber was not the tramp. Also featured in the cast are Paulette Goddard
Paulette Goddard
Paulette Goddard was an American film and theatre actress. A former child fashion model and in several Broadway productions as Ziegfeld Girl, she was a major star of the Paramount Studio in the 1940s. She was married to several notable men, including Charlie Chaplin, Burgess Meredith, and Erich...

 as Hannah, Jack Oakie
Jack Oakie
Jack Oakie was an American actor, starring mostly in films, but also working on stage, radio and television.-Early life:...

 as Napaloni, Reginald Gardiner
Reginald Gardiner
Reginald Gardiner was an English-born actor in film and television and a graduate of the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts in Britain. His parents wanted him to be an architect and he studied at it but he wanted to be an actor and eventually got his way.He started as a super on stage and eventually...

 as Schultz, Henry Daniell
Henry Daniell
Henry Daniell was an English actor, best known for his villainous movie roles, but who had a long and prestigious career on stage as well as in films....

 as Garbitsch and Billy Gilbert
Billy Gilbert
Billy Gilbert was an American comedian and actor known for his comic sneeze routines. He appeared in over 200 feature films, short subjects and television shows starting in 1929. He is not to be confused with silent film actor Billy Gilbert Billy Gilbert (September 12, 1894 – September 23,...

 as Field Marshal Herring, an incompetent adviser to Hynkel.

The names of the aides of Hynkel are parodies of those of Hitler's. Garbitsch , the right hand man of Hynkel, is a parody of Joseph Goebbels
Joseph Goebbels
Paul Joseph Goebbels was a German politician and Reich Minister of Propaganda in Nazi Germany from 1933 to 1945. As one of Adolf Hitler's closest associates and most devout followers, he was known for his zealous oratory and anti-Semitism...

, and Field Marshal
Field Marshal
Field Marshal is a military rank. Traditionally, it is the highest military rank in an army.-Etymology:The origin of the rank of field marshal dates to the early Middle Ages, originally meaning the keeper of the king's horses , from the time of the early Frankish kings.-Usage and hierarchical...

 Herring was modeled after the Luftwaffe
Luftwaffe
Luftwaffe is a generic German term for an air force. It is also the official name for two of the four historic German air forces, the Wehrmacht air arm founded in 1935 and disbanded in 1946; and the current Bundeswehr air arm founded in 1956....

 chief, Hermann Göring
Hermann Göring
Hermann Wilhelm Göring, was a German politician, military leader, and a leading member of the Nazi Party. He was a veteran of World War I as an ace fighter pilot, and a recipient of the coveted Pour le Mérite, also known as "The Blue Max"...

. The "Dig-a-ditchy" of Bacteria, Benzino Napaloni, was modeled after Italy's Il Duce
Duce
Duce is an Italian title, derived from the Latin word dux, and cognate with duke. National Fascist Party leader Benito Mussolini was identified by Fascists as Il Duce of the movement and became a reference to the dictator position of Head of Government and Duce of Fascism of Italy was established...

, Benito Mussolini
Benito Mussolini
Benito Amilcare Andrea Mussolini was an Italian politician who led the National Fascist Party and is credited with being one of the key figures in the creation of Fascism....

. Benzino is played with arrogant buffoonery by Jack Oakie
Jack Oakie
Jack Oakie was an American actor, starring mostly in films, but also working on stage, radio and television.-Early life:...

.

Much of the film is taken up by Hynkel and Napaloni arguing over the fate of Osterlich (Austria). Originally, Mussolini was opposed to the German takeover since he saw Austria as a buffer-state between Germany and Italy. The international community (in particular, France and Britain
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

, Mussolini's Stresa front
Stresa Front
The Stresa Front was an agreement made in Stresa, a town on the banks of Lake Maggiore in Italy, between French foreign minister Pierre Laval, British prime minister Ramsay MacDonald, and Italian prime minister Benito Mussolini on April 14, 1935...

 partners) did not share Italy's concern over German annexation of Austria
Anschluss
The Anschluss , also known as the ', was the occupation and annexation of Austria into Nazi Germany in 1938....

 and supported League of Nations
League of Nations
The League of Nations was an intergovernmental organization founded as a result of the Paris Peace Conference that ended the First World War. It was the first permanent international organization whose principal mission was to maintain world peace...

 sanctions against Italy, after Italy invaded Ethiopia. In 1936, Mussolini submitted to Hitler's will, withdrew Italian troops from the Brenner Pass
Brenner Pass
- Roadways :The motorway E45 leading from Innsbruck via Bolzano to Verona and Modena uses this pass, and is one of the most important north-south connections in Europe...

 along the Austrian border, and moved closer to Germany, as Hitler did not apply sanctions against Italy. This conflict is almost forgotten today given Italy's alliance with the German Third Reich during World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

.

The film contains several of Chaplin's most famous sequences. The rally speech by Hynkel, delivered in German-sounding gibberish
Gibberish
Gibberish is a generic term in English for talking that sounds like speech, but carries no actual meaning. This meaning has also been extended to meaningless text or gobbledygook. The common theme in gibberish statements is a lack of literal sense, which can be described as a presence of nonsense...

, is a caricature of Hitler's oratory style, which Chaplin studied carefully in newsreels. The German words schnitzel, sauerkraut
Sauerkraut
Sauerkraut , directly translated from German: "sour cabbage", is finely shredded cabbage that has been fermented by various lactic acid bacteria, including Leuconostoc, Lactobacillus, and Pediococcus. It has a long shelf-life and a distinctive sour flavor, both of which result from the lactic acid...

 and liverwurst
Liverwurst
The German , that translates literally as "liver sausage," is the typical sausage served in Germany, Austria, Hungary, Serbia, Slovenia, the Netherlands, Finland, Sweden and Romania . Liverwurst normally contains pigs' livers, rather than calves' livers and also contains veal...

 (for Leberwurst) can be made out, as well as "Katzenjammer Kids
Katzenjammer Kids
The Katzenjammer Kids is an American comic strip created by the German immigrant Rudolph Dirks and drawn by Harold H. Knerr for 37 years...

" and English phrases such as "cheese'n'crackers" and frequently "lager beer", in the fake German Hynkel speaks during the rally and at other points in the film when he is angry (though he normally speaks English). Billy Gilbert as Herring is also required to improvise this fake German at times, and at one point (where he is apologizing for having accidentally knocked Hynkel down the stairs) he comes up with the word "banana
Banana
Banana is the common name for herbaceous plants of the genus Musa and for the fruit they produce. Bananas come in a variety of sizes and colors when ripe, including yellow, purple, and red....

". Chaplin is clearly taken by surprise and repeats, "Der banana?" before incorporating the word into his own reply. Chaplin, as Hynkel, has a tendency to remove Herring's medals when he gets angry. In the scene where Hynkel receives news that Napaloni mobilized his troops along the Osterlich border, Hynkel not only removed all of Herring's medals, but removed all of his buttons on his shirt, revealing a striped shirt with suspenders and then slaps Herring.

Chaplin, as the barber, shaves a customer in tune with a radio broadcast of Johannes Brahms
Johannes Brahms
Johannes Brahms was a German composer and pianist, and one of the leading musicians of the Romantic period. Born in Hamburg, Brahms spent much of his professional life in Vienna, Austria, where he was a leader of the musical scene...

's Hungarian Dance No. 5, recorded in one continuous shot. The film's most celebrated sequence is the ballet
Ballet
Ballet is a type of performance dance, that originated in the Italian Renaissance courts of the 15th century, and which was further developed in France and Russia as a concert dance form. The early portions preceded the invention of the proscenium stage and were presented in large chambers with...

 dance between Hynkel and a balloon globe in his palatial office, set to Richard Wagner
Richard Wagner
Wilhelm Richard Wagner was a German composer, conductor, theatre director, philosopher, music theorist, poet, essayist and writer primarily known for his operas...

's Lohengrin Overture
Lohengrin (opera)
Lohengrin is a romantic opera in three acts composed and written by Richard Wagner, first performed in 1850. The story of the eponymous character is taken from medieval German romance, notably the Parzival of Wolfram von Eschenbach and its sequel, Lohengrin, written by a different author, itself...

, which is also used at the end of the film when the Jewish barber is making the victory speech in Hynkel's place. The globe dance had its origins in the late 1920s, when Chaplin was filmed at a Hollywood party doing an early version of the dance, with a globe and a Prussia
Prussia
Prussia was a German kingdom and historic state originating out of the Duchy of Prussia and the Margraviate of Brandenburg. For centuries, the House of Hohenzollern ruled Prussia, successfully expanding its size by way of an unusually well-organized and effective army. Prussia shaped the history...

n military helmet (this footage appears in the documentary Unknown Chaplin
Unknown Chaplin
Unknown Chaplin is an acclaimed three-part 1983 British television documentary about the career and the methods of the film luminary Charles Chaplin using previously unseen film for illustration....

).

The film ends with the barber, having been mistaken for the dictator, delivering an address in front of a large audience and over the radio to the nation, following the Tomainian take-over of Osterlich (a reference to the German Anschluss
Anschluss
The Anschluss , also known as the ', was the occupation and annexation of Austria into Nazi Germany in 1938....

 of Austria on March 12, 1938). The address is widely interpreted as an out-of-character
Breaking character
Breaking character, "to break character", is a theatrical term used to describe when an actor, while actively performing in character, slips out of character and behaves as his or her actual self...

 personal plea from Chaplin.

The Third Reich's official taste in art and architecture is frequently parodied. The distance between the front door and Hynkel's desk is ridiculously long, and while a painter and a sculptor try to create his official image, the dictator never stays posed for more than a few seconds at a time. In the main thoroughfare of the capital the Venus de Milo
Venus de Milo
Aphrodite of Milos , better known as the Venus de Milo, is an ancient Greek statue and one of the most famous works of ancient Greek sculpture. Created at some time between 130 and 100 BC, it is believed to depict Aphrodite the Greek goddess of love and beauty. It is a marble sculpture, slightly...

 has been "repaired" to give a Nazi salute
Nazi salute
The Nazi salute, or Hitler salute , was a gesture of greeting in Nazi Germany usually accompanied by saying, Heil Hitler! ["Hail Hitler!"], Heil, mein Führer ["Hail, my leader!"], or Sieg Heil! ["Hail victory!"]...

, and Rodin's The Thinker
The Thinker
The Thinker is a bronze and marble sculpture by Auguste Rodin, whose first cast, of 1902, is now in the Musée Rodin in Paris; there are some twenty other original castings as well as various other versions, studies, and posthumous castings. It depicts a man in sober meditation battling with a...

 still sits, but now also has his arm raised.

Some of the signs in the shop windows of the ghettoized Jewish population in the film are written in Esperanto
Esperanto
is the most widely spoken constructed international auxiliary language. Its name derives from Doktoro Esperanto , the pseudonym under which L. L. Zamenhof published the first book detailing Esperanto, the Unua Libro, in 1887...

, a language which Hitler condemned as a Jewish plot to internationalize and destroy German culture.

Garbitsch, who constantly counsels and advises Hynkel, seems to be the one guiding him. This is an allusion to the rumors that Goebbels was the actual ruler and Hitler only a puppet-leader.

The Jewish barber and Chaplin's classic Little Tramp character

There is no consensus on the relationship between the film's Jewish barber and Chaplin's earlier Tramp
The Tramp
The Tramp, also known as The Little Tramp was Charlie Chaplin's most memorable on-screen character, a recognized icon of world cinema most dominant during the silent film era....

 character, but the trend is to view the barber as a variation on the theme. Famed French film director François Truffaut
François Truffaut
François Roland Truffaut was an influential film critic and filmmaker and one of the founders of the French New Wave. In a film career lasting over a quarter of a century, he remains an icon of the French film industry. He was also a screenwriter, producer, and actor working on over twenty-five...

 noted that early in the production, Chaplin said he would not play The Tramp in a sound film, and he considers the barber an entirely different character. However, Turner Classic Movies
Turner Classic Movies
Turner Classic Movies is a movie-oriented cable television channel, owned by the Turner Broadcasting System subsidiary of Time Warner, featuring commercial-free classic movies, mostly from the Turner Entertainment and MGM, United Artists, RKO and Warner Bros. film libraries...

 says that years later, Chaplin acknowledged a connection between the barber and The Tramp. Specifically, "There is some debate as to whether the unnamed Jewish barber is intended as the Tramp's final incarnation. Although his memoirs frequently refer to the barber as the Little Tramp, Chaplin said in 1937 that he would not play the Little Tramp in his sound pictures." In his review of the film, Roger Ebert
Roger Ebert
Roger Joseph Ebert is an American film critic and screenwriter. He is the first film critic to win a Pulitzer Prize for Criticism.Ebert is known for his film review column and for the television programs Sneak Previews, At the Movies with Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert, and Siskel and Ebert and The...

 says that "Chaplin was technically not playing the Tramp", but Ebert also states that, "He [Chaplin] put the Little Tramp and $1.5 million of his own money on the line to ridicule Hitler".

Critics who view the barber as different include Stephen Weissman, whose book Chaplin: A Life speaks of Chaplin here "abandoning traditional pantomime technique and his little tramp character." DVD reviewer Mark Bourne bows to Chaplin's earlier statement: "Granted, the barber bears more than a passing resemblance to the Tramp, even affecting the familiar bowler hat and cane. But Chaplin was clear that the barber is not the Tramp and The Great Dictator is not a Tramp movie." The Scarecrow Movie Guide also views the barber as different.

However, Annette Insdorf, in her book Indelible Shadows: Film and the Holocaust, writes that "There was something curiously appropriate about the little tramp impersonating the dictator, for by 1939 Hitler and Chaplin were perhaps the two most famous men in the world. The tyrant and the tramp reverse roles in The Great Dictator, permitting the eternal outsider to address the masses..." Similarly, in The 50 Greatest Jewish Movies
The 50 Greatest Jewish Movies
The 50 Greatest Jewish Movies: A Critic's Ranking of the Very Best was a 1998 book published by Kathryn Bernheimer. Bernheimer ranked the "top 50" films dealing with Jewish topics.-List:-References:...

, Kathryn Bernheimer writes, "What he chose to say in The Great Dictator, however, was just what one might expect from the Little Tramp. Film scholars have often noted that the Little Tramp resembles a Jewish stock figure, the ostracized outcast, an outsider..."

Several reviewers speak of a morphing of The Little Tramp into the Jewish barber. In Boom and Bust: American Cinema in the 1940s, Thomas Schatz writes of "Chaplin's Little Tramp transposed into a meek Jewish barber", while, in Hollywood in Crisis: Cinema and American Society, 1929-1939, Colin Shindler writes that "The universal Little Tramp is transmuted into a specifically Jewish barber whose country is about to be absorbed into the totalitarian empire of Adenoid Hynkel." Finally, in A Distant Technology: Science Fiction Film and the Machine Age, J. P. Telotte writes that "The little tramp figure is here reincarnated as the Jewish barber".

A full two-page discussion of the relationship between the barber and The Tramp appears in Eric L. Flom's book Chaplin in the Sound Era: An Analysis of the Seven Talkies in which he concludes:

Making of the film

The film was directed by Chaplin (with his half-brother Wheeler Dryden
Wheeler Dryden
George Dryden WHEELER was an English actor and film director, the son of Hannah Chaplin and music hall entertainer Leo Dryden and thus the half brother of Charles and Sydney Chaplin...

 as assistant director), and also written and produced by Chaplin. The film was shot largely at the Chaplin Studios
Charlie Chaplin Studios
Charlie Chaplin Studios is a motion picture studio built in 1917 by silent film star Charlie Chaplin just south of the southeast corner of La Brea and Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood, Los Angeles, California....

 and other locations around Los Angeles. The elaborate World War I scenes were filmed in Laurel Canyon
Laurel Canyon, Los Angeles, California
Laurel Canyon is a canyon neighborhood of Los Angeles, California. It was first developed in the 1910s, and became a part of the city of Los Angeles in 1923 ....

. Chaplin and Meredith Willson
Meredith Willson
Robert Meredith Willson was an American composer, songwriter, conductor and playwright, best known for writing the book, music and lyrics for the hit Broadway musical The Music Man...

 composed the music. Filming began in September 1939 and finished six months later. Chaplin was motivated by the escalating violence and repression of Jews by the Nazis throughout the late 1930s, the magnitude of which was conveyed to him personally by his European Jewish friends and fellow artists. The Third Reich's repressive nature and militarist tendencies were also well-known at the time. However, Chaplin later stated that he would not have made the film if he had known of the true extent of the Nazis' crimes.

Chaplin also may have been inspired by a film his other half-brother Sydney Chaplin
Sydney Chaplin
Sydney Chaplin was an English actor. He was the elder half-brother of Sir Charlie Chaplin and served as his business manager, and the half-uncle of the actor Sydney Chaplin , who was named after him.-Early life:...

 directed and starred in, called King, Queen, Joker
King, Queen, Joker
King, Queen, Joker is a 1921 silent feature farce written and directed by Sydney Chaplin, Charlie's older brother. The picture was produced by Famous Players-Lasky and distributed through Paramount Pictures. The film was shot in England, France and the United States.Less than a reel of this film,...

(1921). Syd, like Charlie, played a dual role of a barber and ruler of a country who is about to be overthrown. According to Janiss Garza, Chaplin was sued in the 1940s over plagiarism problems with The Great Dictator. Apparently neither the suing party nor Chaplin himself brought up his own brother's King, Queen, Joker of twenty years before. A surviving fragment of King, Queen, Joker from the British Film Institute, featuring Syd Chaplin in a like barbershop sequence, was included in the 2011 Criterion 2disc set release of The Great Dictator.

Several similarities between Hitler and Chaplin have been noted and may have been a pivotal factor in Chaplin's decision to make The Great Dictator. Chaplin and Hitler had superficially similar looks, most famously their toothbrush mustaches, and this similarity is often commented upon. (Tommy Handley
Tommy Handley
Thomas Reginald "Tommy" Handley was a British comedian, mainly known for the BBC radio programme ITMA . He was born at Toxteth Park, Liverpool in Lancashire....

 wrote a song named "Who is This Man Who Looks like Charlie Chaplin?") Furthermore, the two men were born only four days apart in April 1889, and both grew up in relative poverty
Poverty
Poverty is the lack of a certain amount of material possessions or money. Absolute poverty or destitution is inability to afford basic human needs, which commonly includes clean and fresh water, nutrition, health care, education, clothing and shelter. About 1.7 billion people are estimated to live...

 with alcoholic fathers and ailing mothers. Both were great fans of composer Richard Wagner
Richard Wagner
Wilhelm Richard Wagner was a German composer, conductor, theatre director, philosopher, music theorist, poet, essayist and writer primarily known for his operas...

.

As Hitler and his Nazi Party rose to prominence, Chaplin's popularity throughout the world became greater than ever; he was mobbed by fans on a 1931 trip to Berlin, which annoyed the Nazis, who published a book in 1934 titled The Jews Are Looking at You, in which the comedian was described as "a disgusting Jewish acrobat" (despite the fact that Chaplin was not Jewish). Ivor Montagu
Ivor Montagu
The Honorable Ivor Goldsmid Samuel Montagu was a British filmmaker, screenwriter, producer, film critic, writer, table tennis player and apparent Soviet spy...

, a close friend of Chaplin, relates that he sent Chaplin a copy of the book and always believed this was the genesis of Dictator.

Charlie Chaplin's son Charles Chaplin, Jr. describes how his father was haunted by the similar backgrounds of Hitler and himself. He writes,


Their destinies were poles apart. One was to make millions weep, while the other was to set the whole world laughing. Dad could never think of Hitler without a shudder, half of horror, half of fascination. “Just think,” he would say uneasily, “he’s the madman, I’m the comic. But it could have been the other way around."


Chaplin prepared the story throughout 1938 and 1939, and began filming in September 1939, one week after the beginning of World War II. He finished filming almost six months later. The 2002 TV documentary on the making of the film, The Tramp and the Dictator, presented newly discovered footage of the film production (shot by Chaplin's elder half-brother Sydney
Sydney Chaplin
Sydney Chaplin was an English actor. He was the elder half-brother of Sir Charlie Chaplin and served as his business manager, and the half-uncle of the actor Sydney Chaplin , who was named after him.-Early life:...

) which showed Chaplin's initial attempts at the film's ending, filmed before the fall of France.

The making of the film coincided with rising tensions throughout the world. Speculation grew that this and other anti-fascist films such as The Mortal Storm
The Mortal Storm
The Mortal Storm is a drama film from MGM starring Margaret Sullavan and James Stewart, and directed by Frank Borzage.-Production background:...

and Four Sons
Four Sons
Four Sons is a silent drama film directed and produced by John Ford and written for the screen by Philip Klein from a story by I. A. R. Wylie. It is one of only a handful of survivors out of the more than fifty silent films that Ford directed between 1917 and 1928. It starred Margaret Mann, James...

would remain unreleased, given the United States' neutral relationship with Germany. The project continued largely because Chaplin was financially and artistically independent of other studios; also, failure to release the film would have bankrupted
Bankruptcy
Bankruptcy is a legal status of an insolvent person or an organisation, that is, one that cannot repay the debts owed to creditors. In most jurisdictions bankruptcy is imposed by a court order, often initiated by the debtor....

 Chaplin, who had invested $1.5 million of his own money in the project. The film eventually opened in New York City in September 1940, to a wider American audience in October, and the United Kingdom in December. The film was released in France in April 1945.

When interviewed about this film being on such a touchy subject, Charlie Chaplin had only this to say: "Half-way through making The Great Dictator I began receiving alarming messages from United Artists
United Artists
United Artists Corporation is an American film studio. The original studio of that name was founded in 1919 by D. W. Griffith, Charles Chaplin, Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks....

 ... but I was determined to go ahead, for Hitler must be laughed at." The documentary The Tramp and The Dictator provides audio of a 1983 interview with Chaplin associate Dan James, in which he reports that President Franklin D. Roosevelt
Franklin D. Roosevelt
Franklin Delano Roosevelt , also known by his initials, FDR, was the 32nd President of the United States and a central figure in world events during the mid-20th century, leading the United States during a time of worldwide economic crisis and world war...

 sent his adviser Harry Hopkins
Harry Hopkins
Harry Lloyd Hopkins was one of Franklin Delano Roosevelt's closest advisers. He was one of the architects of the New Deal, especially the relief programs of the Works Progress Administration , which he directed and built into the largest employer in the country...

 to personally meet with Chaplin and encourage him to move ahead with the film.

According to The Tramp and the Dictator, the film was not only sent to Hitler, but an eyewitness confirmed he saw it. This allegation has however, been denied by Hitler's architect Albert Speer. According to the Internet Movie Database
Internet Movie Database
Internet Movie Database is an online database of information related to movies, television shows, actors, production crew personnel, video games and fictional characters featured in visual entertainment media. It is one of the most popular online entertainment destinations, with over 100 million...

, Chaplin, after being told Hitler saw the movie, replied: "I'd give anything to know what he thought of it." Hitler's response is not recorded but he is said to have viewed the film twice.

Reception

The film was well received at the time of its release, and was popular with the American public. The film was also popular in the United Kingdom, drawing 9 million to the theatres. Jewish audiences were deeply moved by the portrayal of Jewish characters and their plight, which was still a taboo subject in Hollywood films of the time.

When the film was in production, the British government announced that it would prohibit its exhibition in the United Kingdom in keeping with its appeasement
Appeasement
The term appeasement is commonly understood to refer to a diplomatic policy aimed at avoiding war by making concessions to another power. Historian Paul Kennedy defines it as "the policy of settling international quarrels by admitting and satisfying grievances through rational negotiation and...

 policy concerning Nazi Germany. However, by the time the film was released, the UK was at war with Germany and the film was now welcomed in part for its obvious propaganda
Propaganda
Propaganda is a form of communication that is aimed at influencing the attitude of a community toward some cause or position so as to benefit oneself or one's group....

 value. In 1941, London's Prince of Wales Theatre
Prince of Wales Theatre
The Prince of Wales Theatre is a West End theatre on Coventry Street, near Leicester Square in the City of Westminster. It was established in 1884 and rebuilt in 1937, and extensively refurbished in 2004 by Sir Cameron Mackintosh, its current owner...

 screened its UK premiere. The film had been banned in many parts of Europe, and the theatre's owner, Alfred Esdaile, was apparently fined for showing it. It eventually became Chaplin's highest grossing film.

In his 1964 autobiography, Chaplin stated that he would not have been able to make such jokes about the Nazi regime had the extent of the Nazi
Nazism
Nazism, the common short form name of National Socialism was the ideology and practice of the Nazi Party and of Nazi Germany...

  horrors been known, particularly the death camps and the Holocaust
The Holocaust
The Holocaust , also known as the Shoah , was the genocide of approximately six million European Jews and millions of others during World War II, a programme of systematic state-sponsored murder by Nazi...

. While Ernst Lubitsch
Ernst Lubitsch
Ernst Lubitsch was a German-born film director. His urbane comedies of manners gave him the reputation of being Hollywood's most elegant and sophisticated director; as his prestige grew, his films were promoted as having "the Lubitsch touch."In 1947 he received an Honorary Academy Award for his...

's 1942 To Be or Not To Be
To Be or Not to Be (1942 film)
To Be or Not to Be is a 1942 American comedy directed by Ernst Lubitsch, about a troupe of actors in Nazi-occupied Warsaw who use their abilities at disguise and acting to fool the occupying troops. It was adapted by Lubitsch and Edwin Justus Mayer from the story by Melchior Lengyel...

dealt with similar themes (even including another mistaken-identity Hitler figure), after the scope of Nazi atrocities became apparent it took nearly twenty years before any other films dared to satirize the era. A single Nazi character dominates Stanley Kubrick
Stanley Kubrick
Stanley Kubrick was an American film director, writer, producer, and photographer who lived in England during most of the last four decades of his career...

's 1963 sinister comedy Doctor Strangelove and Mel Brooks
Mel Brooks
Mel Brooks is an American film director, screenwriter, composer, lyricist, comedian, actor and producer. He is best known as a creator of broad film farces and comic parodies. He began his career as a stand-up comic and as a writer for the early TV variety show Your Show of Shows...

' The Producers
The Producers (1968 film)
The Producers is a 1968 American satirical dark comedy cult classic film written and directed by Mel Brooks. The film is set in the late 1960s and it tells the story of a theatrical producer and an accountant who want to produce a sure-fire Broadway flop...

(1968) mocked Nazis, though not their actions. Both The Producers and Doctor Strangelove are set in the present day, long after World War II. Brooks would also later remake To Be or Not To Be. The television series Hogan's Heroes
Hogan's Heroes
Hogan's Heroes is an American television sitcom that ran for 168 episodes from September 17, 1965, to March 28, 1971, on the CBS network. The show was set in a German prisoner of war camp during the Second World War. Bob Crane had the starring role as Colonel Robert E...

also represented later comedic takes on the era, as did the 1997 Italian film Life is Beautiful
Life Is Beautiful
Life Is Beautiful is a 1997 Italian film which tells the story of a Jewish Italian, Guido Orefice , who must employ his fertile imagination to help his family during their internment in a Nazi concentration camp.At the 71st Academy Awards in 1999, Benigni won the Academy Award for Best Actor and...

. Chaplin's The Great Dictator remains the only full-length feature film satirizing Nazis not to be made by a Jewish film maker before Quentin Tarantino
Quentin Tarantino
Quentin Jerome Tarantino is an American film director, screenwriter, producer, cinematographer and actor. In the early 1990s, he began his career as an independent filmmaker with films employing nonlinear storylines and the aestheticization of violence...

's Inglourious Basterds.

The film was nominated for five Academy Awards:
  • Outstanding Production
    Academy Award for Best Picture
    The Academy Award for Best Picture is one of the Academy Awards of Merit presented annually by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to artists working in the motion picture industry. The Best Picture category is the only category in which every member of the Academy is eligible not only...

     – United Artists
    United Artists
    United Artists Corporation is an American film studio. The original studio of that name was founded in 1919 by D. W. Griffith, Charles Chaplin, Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks....

     (Charlie Chaplin, Producer)
  • Best Actor
    Academy Award for Best Actor
    Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role is one of the Academy Awards of Merit presented annually by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to recognize an actor who has delivered an outstanding performance while working within the film industry...

     – Charlie Chaplin
  • Best Writing (Original Screenplay)
    Academy Award for Best Writing (Original Screenplay)
    The Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay is the Academy Award for the best script not based upon previously published material. Before 1940, there was an Academy Award for Best Story for writing. For 1940, it and the award in this article were separated into two awards. Beginning with the...

     – Charlie Chaplin
  • Best Supporting Actor
    Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor
    Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role is one of the Academy Awards of Merit presented annually by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to recognize an actor who has delivered an outstanding performance while working within the film industry. Since its inception, however, the...

     – Jack Oakie
    Jack Oakie
    Jack Oakie was an American actor, starring mostly in films, but also working on stage, radio and television.-Early life:...

  • Best Music (Original Score)
    Academy Award for Best Original Score
    The Academy Award for Original Score is presented to the best substantial body of music in the form of dramatic underscoring written specifically for the film by the submitting composer.-Superlatives:...

     – Meredith Willson
    Meredith Willson
    Robert Meredith Willson was an American composer, songwriter, conductor and playwright, best known for writing the book, music and lyrics for the hit Broadway musical The Music Man...



In 1997, The Great Dictator was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry
National Film Registry
The National Film Registry is the United States National Film Preservation Board's selection of films for preservation in the Library of Congress. The Board, established by the National Film Preservation Act of 1988, was reauthorized by acts of Congress in 1992, 1996, 2005, and again in October 2008...

 by the Library of Congress
Library of Congress
The Library of Congress is the research library of the United States Congress, de facto national library of the United States, and the oldest federal cultural institution in the United States. Located in three buildings in Washington, D.C., it is the largest library in the world by shelf space and...

 as being "culturally, historically or aesthetically significant".

The film was Chaplin's first true talking picture and helped shake off accusations of Luddism following his previous release, the mostly dialogue-free Modern Times
Modern Times (film)
Modern Times is a 1936 comedy film by Charlie Chaplin that has his iconic Little Tramp character struggling to survive in the modern, industrialized world. The film is a comment on the desperate employment and fiscal conditions many people faced during the Great Depression, conditions created, in...

, released in 1936 when the silent era had all but ended in the late 1920s. The Great Dictator does, however, feature several silent scenes more in-keeping with Chaplin's previous films. To add to that, some audiences had come to expect Chaplin to make silent films even during the sound era. Some audiences nicknamed him the "Silent Clown" during the height of the silent era.

American Film Institute
American Film Institute
The American Film Institute is an independent non-profit organization created by the National Endowment for the Arts, which was established in 1967 when President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the National Foundation on the Arts and the Humanities Act...

 recognition
  • 2000: AFI's 100 Years... 100 Laughs
    AFI's 100 Years... 100 Laughs
    Part of the AFI 100 Years… series, AFI's 100 Years…100 Laughs is a list of the top 100 funniest movies in American cinema. A wide variety of comedies were nominated for the distinction that included slapstick comedy, screwball comedy, romantic comedy, satire, black comedy, musical comedy, comedy of...

     #37

Score

The score was written and directed by Meredith Willson
Meredith Willson
Robert Meredith Willson was an American composer, songwriter, conductor and playwright, best known for writing the book, music and lyrics for the hit Broadway musical The Music Man...

, later to become well-known as creator of the 1957 musical comedy The Music Man
The Music Man
The Music Man is a musical with book, music, and lyrics by Meredith Willson, based on a story by Willson and Franklin Lacey. The plot concerns con man Harold Hill, who poses as a boys' band organizer and leader and sells band instruments and uniforms to naive townsfolk before skipping town with...

. Willson wrote:

While it is frequently noted that Chaplin used Wagner's Lohengrin prelude in the scene where dictator Hynkel dances with the globe-balloon, it is far less frequently noted that the same music is used near the conclusion of the Jewish barber's speech celebrating democracy and freedom. In the first case, the music does not reach a conclusion, since the globe-balloon pops. In the latter case, the Lohengrin music continues to its final climax as the barber over the radio tells Hannah to look up at the sun, and promises that mankind is 'flying into the rainbow, the hope, the future'. As noted above, Chaplin's son has written about how Chaplin was haunted by the similarities between Hitler's background and his, including their common love for the music of Richard Wagner
Richard Wagner
Wilhelm Richard Wagner was a German composer, conductor, theatre director, philosopher, music theorist, poet, essayist and writer primarily known for his operas...

.

According to Willson, the scene in which Chaplin shaves a customer to Brahms' Hungarian Dance No. 5 had been filmed before he arrived, using a phonograph record for timing. Willson was to re-record it with the full studio orchestra, fitting the music to the action. They had planned to do it painstakingly, recording eight measures or less at a time, after running through the whole scene to get the overall idea. Chaplin decided to record the runthrough in case anything was usable, and "by dumb luck we had managed to catch every movement, and that was the first and only 'take' made of the scene, the one used in the finished picture".

Lawsuit

The film was the subject of a plagiarism
Plagiarism
Plagiarism is defined in dictionaries as the "wrongful appropriation," "close imitation," or "purloining and publication" of another author's "language, thoughts, ideas, or expressions," and the representation of them as one's own original work, but the notion remains problematic with nebulous...

 lawsuit (Bercovici v. Chaplin) in 1947 against Chaplin. The case was settled, with Chaplin paying Konrad Bercovici
Konrad Bercovici
Konrad Bercovici was a Jewish-American writer.-Biography:Born in Romania into a Jewish family in 1882, he went to university in Paris, where he met his wife. Together, they moved to the Lower East Side, Manhattan, New York City. He worked in sweatshops and gave piano lessons. He went on to write...

 $95,000. In his autobiography, Chaplin insisted that he had been the sole writer of the movie's script. He came to a settlement, though, because of his "unpopularity in the States at that moment and being under such court pressure, [he] was terrified, not knowing what to expect next."

See also

  • Look-alike
  • You Nazty Spy! and I'll Never Heil Again
    I'll Never Heil Again
    I'll Never Heil Again is the 56th short subject starring American slapstick comedy team the Three Stooges. The trio made a total of 190 shorts for Columbia Pictures between 1934 and 1959.-Plot:...

    , a pair of Three Stooges shorts with a similar subject matter, with the former being released nine months before The Great Dictator.
  • Der Fuehrer's Face
    Der Fuehrer's Face
    Der Fuehrer's Face is a 1943 American animated short film produced by Walt Disney Productions and released by RKO Radio Pictures. The cartoon, which features Donald Duck in a nightmare setting working at a factory in Nazi Germany, was made in an effort to sell war bonds and is an example of...

    . A Donald Duck
    Donald Duck
    Donald Fauntleroy Duck is a cartoon character created in 1934 at Walt Disney Productions and licensed by The Walt Disney Company. Donald is an anthropomorphic white duck with a yellow-orange bill, legs, and feet. He typically wears a sailor suit with a cap and a black or red bow tie. Donald is most...

     cartoon that spoofs the severity of the Nazi dictatorship and the effect it had on the people directly affected by it
  • To Be or Not to Be
    To Be or Not to Be (1942 film)
    To Be or Not to Be is a 1942 American comedy directed by Ernst Lubitsch, about a troupe of actors in Nazi-occupied Warsaw who use their abilities at disguise and acting to fool the occupying troops. It was adapted by Lubitsch and Edwin Justus Mayer from the story by Melchior Lengyel...

    , a dark comedy on living in Nazi-occupied Warsaw (also remade in 1983
    To Be or Not to Be (1983 film)
    To Be or Not to Be is a 1983 20th Century Fox comedy-drama film directed by Alan Johnson, produced by Mel Brooks with Howard Jeffrey as executive producer and Irene Walzer as associate producer. The screenplay was written by Ronny Graham and Thomas Meehan, based on the original story by Melchior...

     by Mel Brooks
    Mel Brooks
    Mel Brooks is an American film director, screenwriter, composer, lyricist, comedian, actor and producer. He is best known as a creator of broad film farces and comic parodies. He began his career as a stand-up comic and as a writer for the early TV variety show Your Show of Shows...

    ).
  • Herr Meets Hare
    Herr Meets Hare
    Herr Meets Hare is a 1945 Merrie Melodies cartoon directed by Friz Freleng. This short, coming a few months before the collapse of the Third Reich, was one of the last major wartime cartoons from Warner Brothers...

    , a 1945 Bugs Bunny
    Bugs Bunny
    Bugs Bunny is a animated character created in 1938 at Leon Schlesinger Productions, later Warner Bros. Cartoons. Bugs is an anthropomorphic gray rabbit and is famous for his flippant, insouciant personality and his portrayal as a trickster. He has primarily appeared in animated cartoons, most...

     cartoon satirizing Hitler and Hermann Göring
  • The Producers
    The Producers
    The Producers commonly refers to Mel Brooks' series of comedic works about two con-men who attempt to cheat theater investors out of their money, only to have the scheme improbably backfire:...

    , a 1968 comedy film by Mel Brooks
    Mel Brooks
    Mel Brooks is an American film director, screenwriter, composer, lyricist, comedian, actor and producer. He is best known as a creator of broad film farces and comic parodies. He began his career as a stand-up comic and as a writer for the early TV variety show Your Show of Shows...

     about an attempt to mount a sure-to-fail musical based on a failed play by an ex-Nazi about the "glories" of Nazi Germany.
  • Life is Beautiful
    Life Is Beautiful
    Life Is Beautiful is a 1997 Italian film which tells the story of a Jewish Italian, Guido Orefice , who must employ his fertile imagination to help his family during their internment in a Nazi concentration camp.At the 71st Academy Awards in 1999, Benigni won the Academy Award for Best Actor and...

    , Roberto Benigni's 1997 Italian film about a Jewish Italian, who uses his comical imagination to help his family during their internment in a Nazi concentration camp.
  • Doctor Strangelove, Stanley Kubrick's comedy about nuclear war between the US and Russia featuring a former Nazi (played by Peter Sellers) as an advisor to the Americans.
  • Janus Films
    Janus Films
    Janus Films is a film distribution company. It was one of the first distributors to bring what are now regarded as masterpieces of world cinema to the United States...

    and The Criterion Collection
    The Criterion Collection
    The Criterion Collection is a video-distribution company selling "important classic and contemporary films" to film aficionados. The Criterion series is noted for helping to standardize the letterbox format for home video, bonus features, and special editions...

    , the film's current distributer

Additional references

  1. Chaplin and American Culture: The Evolution of a Star Image. Charles J. Maland. Princeton, 1989.
  2. National Film Theatre/British Film Institute
    British Film Institute
    The British Film Institute is a charitable organisation established by Royal Charter to:-Cinemas:The BFI runs the BFI Southbank and IMAX theatre, both located on the south bank of the River Thames in London...

    notes on The Great Dictator.
  3. The Tramp and the Dictator, directed by Kevin Brownlow, Michael Kloft 2002, 88 mn.

External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
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