Monday, August 23, 2010

the great dictator

i love old movies , so i recently viewed charlie chaplin's classic the great dictator . my friends, this is the most amazing movie. it was released in 1940 which was during world war 2. it is about 2 men who look identical. one man is adenoid hynkel (a.k.a. adolph hitler) and the other is a jewish barber. chaplin skewers the nazi regime. first off he calls germany  'tomania' and his henchman are named garbage and herring. one of the countries he fights is called 'bacteria'. the jewish barber is often mistaken for hynkel. chaplin is the first in hollywood to actaully feature the ghetto in an american world war 2 film. he is also the first to actually mention that the nazis were trying to murder the jewish people. he is ingenius.this is the first movie that chaplin's voice is heard. chaplin felt that the gravity of the subject manner required his voice.
coincidentally in real life chaplin and hitler were born the same week in april of 1889. they were both born into poverty. they both were interested in the arts including film. as soon as chaplin saw hitler's war films he was fascinated by his acting, as well as disturbed by his politics. chaplin was well loved world over for his films . hitler hated this. he hated the fact that chaplin was so well recieved by the german people. chaplin had a history  of making films with a political message. as soon as hitler was ascending to power chaplin knew he needed to make an impact, thus he created the film the great dictator. many hollywood jews were justifiiably afraid to make a movie so bold. chaplin was not. he knew that hitler liked american movies and that he would see it.  sources believe that hitler did see the movie but do not know what hitler's reaction to it was, beside banning it from germany.  an anti - nazi german who wanted to challenge hitler in a quiet way found a copy of the great dictator and managed to have a viewing for some nazi soldiers. at first they didn't realize the irony , but when they did, one of them started shooting the screen and that was that.
chaplin was so despised by hitler that there even is an anti semitic book called the eternal jew that skewers chaplin for being a jew. chaplin never confirmed or denied being jewish.
it is so striking how two men who had so many similarities , even looked similar, led such different lives. chaplin lived a life fighting for truth , peace and freedom  while hitler , yemach shemo, was pure evil.

No comments: