January is my birthday month, so I decided that I would try and do something quite unique and special for this milestone in my life. I will be turning 46, so I decided to watch 47 (46+1 for good luck) of my all time favorite movies in a random order over the course of this month. I have reviewed every one of these films already, but I will now give new perspectives on them all. Every one of these films received a 10/10 scoring from me. Some of these reviews will contain spoilers so if you have never seen them before, I recommend that you read some of my previous reviews of the film that were spoiler free before reading on…
Hope you enjoy!
This is film #18 of the 47.
Let’s continue with… The Great Dictator (1940)
Initial Viewing Memories – Saw this for the first time on cable as a teen and loved the mix of parody and drama of the story which was so impactful. It remains my favorite Chaplin film to this day because of the way it is able to be so profound mainly by using humor as the catalyst.
“Nothing works! Not a decent pen. Not even a sharp pencil! I’m surrounded by nothing but incompetent, stupid, sterile stenographers!” – Adenoid Hynkel
Number of Times Seen – 5-10 times (Cable in the 90’s, DVD, 27 Aug 2015 and 12 Jan 2020)
Link to original review – Here
Brief Synopsis – In a small European country, a Jewish barber returns to his home after years of therapy following The Great War to discover that the new leader of the country is making stricter rules on the population especially the Jews.
My Take on it – Amazing film that still is shocking that it was made when it was.
Charlie Chaplin was a superb satirist and most of his film have a social message to them, but this is clearly the most profound of them all.
The choice to parody Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini at a tie when they were terrorizing Europe was a very bold move on his part and shows what kind of man Chaplin was since he always made his films with his heart first.
The way that this film shows the actions of dictators is spot on and they are able to show some of the absurdity of the whole situation at the same time as when they show that the strict rules are usually quite arbitrary.
Chaplin’s decision to make this film his first non-silent film was a momentous decision because this film shows that Chaplin was able to speak his mind verbally in addition to the slapstick comedy that he is mostly known for.
The “coin” scene is typical Chaplin and is so hilarious to watch no matter how often one watches it because it is done so superbly.
The most iconic scene of this film is the “globe” scene and that one is so profound and speaks so much as to the intentions and wishes of this dictator.
Chaplin’s use of foreign sounding words adds to the hilarity of it all because of their meanings in English show the stupidity of it all so clearly.
This film gets so much right which is scary especially given the fact that much of the world was clueless as to what was really going on behind the German lines and this film is unfortunately quite prophetic in the way that things played out.
This is both shocking and spine tingling at the same time because its unbelievable how much he predicted so near perfectly.
The comedy of errors aspect of this film works really well and is some of Chaplin’s finest scenes on film.
MovieRob’s Favorite Trivia – Adolf Hitler banned the film in Germany and in all countries occupied by the Nazis. Curiosity got the best of him, and he had a print brought in through Portugal. History records that he screened it twice, in private, but history did not record his reaction to the film. Charles Chaplin said, “I’d give anything to know what he thought of it.” For political reasons in Germany, the ban stayed after the end of WWII until 1958. (From IMDB)
Rating – Oscar Worthy (10/10) (no change from original review)
Check out my *updated* movie stats here
To see my reviews of Oscar Winning Performances check out this link
To see my reviews of all Oscar Best Picture Winners click here (now complete)
Here is a link to my movie index A-Z