A look at the parallel lives of Charles Chaplin and Adolf Hitler and how they crossed with the creation of The Great Dictator (1940).

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Explores the making of Charles Chaplin's first "talkie" The Great Dictator (1940) and draws many things that between Chaplin and Hitler had in common. The film contains colour home movie footage of the film's production which where shot by Charles' brother Sydney. These never before seen films were discovered by his daughter Victoria while looking though an old suitcase she found in the basement. The raw footage gives us an alternate insight to Chaplin's classic film which started production years before Adolf Hitler was seen as a major threat in the western world. Written by Luke Winterton <frednerk666@hotmail.com>

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1 October 2002 (USA)  »

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Der Tramp und der Diktator  »

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This documentary is featured on the 2-Disc Charlie Chaplin Collection DVD for The Great Dictator (1940), released in 2003. See more »

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The clown and the monster

Charles Chaplin was a world-renowned comedian who made several masterpieces.Adolf Hitler was his total opposite.But they did have something in common.They were both born in the same week of the same year, 1889.But as persons they were nothing alike.Chaplin was a humanitarian while Hitler was a cold-blooded murderer.Hitler's main target was the Jews, as we all know, and so many of them had their final destination at the concentration camp.He thought Chaplin belonged to the Hebrew race and Charles was called a "disgusting Jewish acrobat.Chaplin went and made a satire called The Great Dictator (1940).The Tramp and the Dictator (2002) tells a little about that classic, narrated by Kenneth Branagh.Many fascinating people talk about their relationship with Chaplin and this film.It's most enjoyable to listen to Budd Schulberg talk about Chaplin and the movie.He's a 95-year old author, a screenwriter and some other things, who's written stuff like The Disenchanted and Waterfront.We learn from this man, who was present at the Nuremberg trials, that he noticed The Great Dictator being mentioned twice in a list of films that had been sent to Hitler.Also Reinhard Spitzy, a member of Hitler's inner circle is convinced The Fuhrer did see the film.Charlie's son, Sydney Chaplin is there sharing his memories.Sadly, Mr. Chaplin died last March at the age of 82.He's remembered working with his father in two films, Limelight (1952) and A Countess from Hong Kong (1967).The blacklisted screenwriter and producer Walter Bernstein, who's 90 now, has a few things to say.Ray Bradbury says that "Comedy is the greatest way to attack a totalitarian regime".Historian Arthur Schlesinger Jr. has something to say, so does caricaturist Al Hirschfeld and film critic Stanley Kauffman.Nikola Radosevic is a Yugoslav, who worked as a film projectionist during the war.German troops saw a bit of that movie, until an SS officer started shooting at the screen.We also hear the film director Sidney Lumet.He actually attended the film's world premiere.In archive footage we see people like Oona Chaplin, D.W. Griffith, Mary Pickford, Douglas Fairbanks and Henry Ford.And sure there's footage of Hitler and Mussolini.The film includes a remarkable footage in color, that shows the making of The Great Dictator.It was found in a suitcase in the cellar of Chaplin's Swiss home.We learn that he planned a completely different ending to the film, with soldiers breaking into a folk dance.The footage shot by the comic's elder brother Sydney shows us the strict directing ways of Charles.For film buffs like me, this documentary is a must-see.You learn so much of this classic known as The Great Dictator.


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