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The Great Dictator


Roger Davidson

Great Dictator, The
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One of the best satires of the 20th-century, Charlie Chaplin parodied Adolf Hitler and took on his fascist regime, during a time when doing such a thing was considered risque. Chaplin portrays both dictator Hynkel, and a Jewish barber who is mistaken for Hynkel. The little barber finds himself at first under the thumb of Hynkel, then finds himself leading a fascist government that only he can bring down, with just a few simple words.

Except for the sermon at the end, this is almost Chaplin's masterpiece. He offers a wonderful performance in his first talkie and has an able comic cast to support him. The best is Jack Oakie as Napoloni, a pompous Mussolini-like dictator who is constantly trying to upstage Hynkel. It's sad to think that this cherished film nearly ended the career of the beloved "Little Tramp". However, that's certainly not the case today. Chaplin uses his similarities to Hitler (including their famous mustaches) to extraordinary comic heights. If you would like to see Chaplin at his best, try this one on for size.

My Rating = Four Stars

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