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This is a documentary about Charlie Chaplin and his attack on the Nazi-regime with his first talking movie, 'The Great Dictator'. The documentary explains how the film was made, what was going on in the head of Chaplin, how Hitler did handle some things and how those things were used by Chaplin. We see footage of Hitler, Mussolini and of course Chaplin himself. Between that we see people who had to do with Chaplin, including his son and great director Sidney Lumet. A great documentary about a great comedian and a great movie.
A fascinating documentary that 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 Adolph Hitler was seen as a major threat in the western world.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
" . . . who did not want Peace," after World War Two, such as the American Legion, acclaimed writer Ray Bradbury says near the end of THE TRAMP AND THE DICTATOR, a nearly hour-long Criterion documentary on Charlie Chaplin's most important film, THE GREAT DICTATOR. Though this piece is as good as far as it goes, many viewers--such as myself--will want to do follow-up research about WHY Chaplin became banned from America despite making this movie, which spelled the beginning of the end of the Axis, Hitler, and Mussolini. What they will discover is that America was as nearly divided in the 1920s and 1930s as it is Today. Armies of World War I vets marched in West Virginia, shooting it out with the stooges of the Fascist Mine Managers. Though most of Hollywood was Anti-Hitler, an eventually-triumphant subset led by director John Ford and his protégée, the notorious draft dodger John Wayne, backed the Fascists. Just as the Rich People's Party specializes in Voter Suppression, Unconstitutional Supreme Court Jiggering, and Promotion of Wealth Disparity Today, so too did this Cabal led by Ford and Wayne target Chaplin and all the other Champions of Freedom before the final A-Bomb echoes of WWII had died away. Too bad Criterion did not highlight this more here.
This film was spurred on by Charlie Chaplin's film "The Great
Dictator"--a film in which he made fun of but also warned the world of
the evil beast, Adolph Hitler. And, not surprisingly, it is included on
the DVD for "The Great Dictator".
It begins by discussing similarities between the two men--such as being born the same month of the same year. And, how the two were polar opposites--Hitler was never accused of being the funniest man on the planet. However, much of the film was not about their similarities and differences but was more of a 'making of' featurette. It discussed such things as the obsessive nature of Chaplin and his directorial style as well as the reaction to the film when it was released.
My reason for watching this, more than any, was that it was made by Kenneth Brownlow--one of the foremost experts on silent comedy and who had created the very best documentaries on Chaplin, Keaton and Lloyd. Secondly, I love Chaplin's full-length films--though I should admit that "The Great Dictator" is among my least favorite of these films. Folks who adore this film would probably get a bit more out of the documentary. I also really preferred his film "Unknown Chaplin" (also by Brownlow) as it gave much more insight into Chaplin's directorial style. Still, it's well worth seeing and offers a few really nice insights into "The Great Dictator".
Kenneth Branagh narrates "The Tramp and the Dictator," a 2002
documentary put together by film historian Kevin Brownlow and Michael
Kroft about the making of Charlie Chaplin's film "The Great Dictator."
For anyone who hasn't seen it, it's an incredible 1940 film about the
dictator of Tomania, Adenoid Hynkel and the Jewish barber who bears a
strong resemblance to him.
This documentary at first focuses on the similarities between Hitler and Chaplin as far as their backgrounds, love of the arts, and poverty and how each man overcame these adversities, one to become perhaps the greatest artist the world has ever known, and the other the most evil dictator.
"The Tramp and the Dictator" then goes into Chaplin's decision to make the film, the shove-it-under-the-rug attitude of Hollywood at that time, and shows color footage of the movie (it was released in black and white) as it was being filmed, and some footage of Chaplin directing.
There are reminiscences by Chaplin's son Sydney, screenwriter Walter Bernstein, writer Budd Schulberg, former SS officer Reinhard Spitzy, and others.
"The Great Dictator" was a controversial film for its time. It stands today as a strong political statement by Chaplin and a brilliant film for its mixture of parody and drama. He was advised not to make it. His answer? "What can he do? He can't possibly be any worse than he already is."
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
. . . THE MAKING OF THE GREAT DICTATOR, 1939 - 1940, on Criterion's DVD package for THE GREAT DICTATOR, but it does not seem to have a separate home page at this site, and I'm sure that anyone who has watched THE TRAMP AND THE DICTATOR also will want to view these home movies filmed by Charlie's son. Cumulatively, these pieces last about 26 minutes, and are broken down into five chapters entitled: "The Ball," "Deleted Final Scene," "Fall Down the Stairs," "The Ghetto," and "World War One." Some insights into the actual feature film are revealed here. In "Deleted Final Scene," for instance, we see that it is so hot that some of the film crew are running around shirtless (the men, NOT the women, of course). These scenes also are filmed by Sydney Chaplin in color, revealing uniform details not included in the feature. Fans of historic artillery are sure to appreciate the Big Bertha Behind-the-Scenes of the final segment, as well.
As a history teacher I love this documentary. It gives my students the opportunity to step into the the world of the early 20th century and understand a bit of the fast array of events that took place. Not only the First and Second World War, but also the Great Depression,the rise of totalitarian regimes and new methods of propaganda are explained through the life and work of Charlie Chaplin. A lot of young people have never seen a silent movie, but after seeing this film they often are interested to actually watch The Great Dictator and not only understand what it is about, but also how fascinating the story of its making was.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Kenneth Branagh narrates this documentary directed by film historian Kevin Brownlow and Michael Kloft about the making of Charles Chaplin's film The Great Dictator. The film contrasts the early lives of both Chaplin and Hitler in a way which demonstrates the uncanny similarities between them. Both were interested in the arts at young ages: Chaplin escaped early poverty by performing in music halls; Hitler was rejected as a painter, fell into despair, and became a vagabond who later joined the German army. The film traces Hitler's rise to power and shows archival photos of him with a full mustache in his twenties. It was Hitler who later adopted Chaplin's mustache due to the latter's world wide popularity, indicating Hitler's shrewishness as a public relations wizard. The film contains interesting anecdotes regarding Chaplin's decision to make the film and the political dilemmas he faced in this undertaking. Several well known figures from the film world as well as witnesses during the war years contribute their thoughts and reminiscences. Blacklisted writer Walter Bernstein, writer Ray Bradbury, film critic Stanley Kauffmann, writer Budd Schulberg, Nazi insider Reinhard Spitzy, and Chaplin's son Sidney are chief among them. The film was produced by Turner Classic Movies and is an excellent companion to watching a film that was daring for its time and still stands as an entertaining parody of Hitler's Germany. ***1/2 of 4 stars.
What can be said about one of the greatest movies in the history of
cinema. It seems that a lot, and this documentary - actually a
juxtaposition of two documentaries succeeds to tell a lot.
The first part focuses on the parallel biographies of Charlie Chaplin and Adolf Hitler, the genial artist who made people laugh and the horrible dictator who entered history as one of the most evil people to have ever lived. One of the revelations of the movie is that the two were born the same week, and their biographies had no few common things. Very interesting color footage from the film studios taken by Chaplin's brother Sidney add a lot and the commentaries are solid, without being extremely deep. The only other remarkable thing I learned is that Hitler may have seen 'The Great Dictator' and actually enjoyed it. The supreme beast had a sense of humor.
The second part is actually also interesting from a documentary point of view, telling the story of a few more Hitler films made during the war. The balance between art and propaganda inclined towards propaganda in most of these productions and none of course benefited from the genius of a Chaplin, so they were much less successful and are now forgotten.
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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