Twenty years after the end of WWI in which the nation of Tomainia was on the losing side, Adenoid Hynkel has risen to power as the ruthless dictator of the country. He believes in a pure Aryan state, and the decimation of the Jews. This situation is unknown to a simple Jewish-Tomainian barber who has since been hospitalized the result of a WWI battle. Upon his release, the barber, who had been suffering from memory loss about the war, is shown the new persecuted life of the Jews by many living in the Jewish ghetto, including a washerwoman named Hannah, with whom he begins a relationship. The barber is ultimately spared such persecution by Commander Schultz, who he saved in that WWI battle. The lives of all Jews in Tomainia are eventually spared with a policy shift by Hynkel himself, who is doing so for ulterior motives. But those motives include a want for world domination, starting with the invasion of neighboring Osterlich, which may be threatened by Benzino Napaloni, the dictator ... Written by
Charles Chaplin originally intended to call the film "The Dictator", but received notice from Paramount Pictures that they would charge him $25,000 for use of the title-they owned the rights to an unrelated novel by Richard Harding Davis. Chaplin balked at the conditions and inserted "Great" into the title. (In France the film is known as "Le Dictateur" and in Finland as "Diktaattori" .) See more »
When Hynkel opens the filing cabinet behind his desk to reveal and look into the full length mirrors inside of it, the studio lights can briefly be seen reflected in them. See more »
Note, any resemblance between Hynkle the Dictator and the Jewish Barber is purely co-incidental.
This is a story of a period between two World Wars - an interim in which Insanity cut loose. Liberty took a nose dive, and Humanity was kicked around somewhat.
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The film is obviously a satire on Adolf Hitler, represented by Adenoid Hynkel, and its story is based on Hynkel looking exactly like "a Jewish barber": both are played by Charles Chaplin. But it begins with a notice: "Any resemblance between Hynkel the dictator and the Jewish barber is purely co-incidental". See more »
I agree that the final speech is powerful, and stirring. It made my heart hurt (in a good way ;-) But I also have to say that the comedy is first-rate. When the Charlie and the pilot are unknowingly upside down and chatting away...when the pilot is serenely reminiscing about his girlfriend back home even as the downed plane plows right into the ground...when Hynkel delivers this vitriolic diatribe about 'the Juden' and the blandly impassive translator says, 'the Phooey has just made reference to the Jewish people' and 'the Phooey's heart is full of love to all mankind,' ...when Hynkel strips his hapless henchman of all his beautiful medals, spitting and fussing a mile a minute...I could go on and on! I think no one else on earth could play Hynkel as hilariously as Chaplin, but it might be fun to imagine modern comedians trying. ;-)
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