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
As the premiere approached, Charles Chaplin had good reason to be concerned about his gamble on political commentary. Gallup polls revealed that 96% of Americans opposed U.S. involvement in the war in Europe, and threatening letters from Nazi sympathizers poured into the studio. At one point, he even asked a friend with the Longshoreman's Union in New York if they could have some union members present at the opening, to prevent a pro-Nazi demonstration. See more »
(at around 12 mins) When the Barber flies upside down in the aeroplane, he sits at the left. He is the closest to us. Schultz asks him for the time. Near his elbow the G from the text "G 3824-R" is closest to his elbow. Later on when he gets his watch to answer the question, the plane seems to fly normally, but then the Barber sits at the right. Then suddenly it is the R which is closest to his elbow. 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 »
Aside from giving this film its proper socio-historical credit as one of only 2 U.S films which condemned Hitler, Naziism and the Holocaust prior to U.S. involvement in WWII, it's a great time as well. Much of the humor remains visual, and some of the funniest (and most famous) scenes are done in the silent mode (e.g. the globe). Although a bit more lacking in continuity and editing than many of Chaplin's earlier films, to do it credit simply as a passable first effort at a new medium is to damn it with faint praise. It's unique. No serious student of film can neglect to see and appreciate The Great Dictator as a classic amalgam of film talents.
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