The Great Dictator- Charlie Chaplin

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Psycho Mike
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The Great Dictator- Charlie Chaplin

Post by Psycho Mike » 15 Oct 2002 15:51

Had a chance recently to watch the Chaplin film The Great Dictator on TCM ( Turner Classic Movie channel). There was also a documentary on the making of the film. I presume that is also included in the DVD. Made before the U.S. entered the war (officially anyway, secret money drops to England not included), this film attacks Hitler through satire. I wondered who else has seen the film and your thoughts. :D

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HPL2008
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Chaplin

Post by HPL2008 » 15 Oct 2002 17:32

Sure I've seen it! A true classic, a magnificent satire and easily Chaplin's best film. It's hilariously funny and yet a very serious appeal to kindness and tolerance. What I liked best about it is Chaplin's wonderful parody of Hitler's speeches, delivered in that pseudo-German gibberish language, with Hitler's posture, gestures, voice and everything brilliantly parodied. Oh, and Jack Oakie was perfect as Napoloni (Mussolini) as well.

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Psycho Mike
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So Long In The Making

Post by Psycho Mike » 17 Oct 2002 17:24

I didn't realize that the film was started so long before our entry into the war, and that when it came out we still weren't (legally) at war with England against Germany. Though I suspect we were running money.
It was also interesting to find out that a German surrealist-anarchist group, The Blue Ribbon, showed the film to German troops!
To have been at the screening twice when Hitler watched it must have been something.
I think that because the film has been so rarely shown it doesn't show up on "great films" lists.
Is this film shown in Germany today? Anyone know?

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HPL2008
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Great Dictator

Post by HPL2008 » 17 Oct 2002 19:34

Hi, Mike.

"The Great Dictator" is shown on German (and Austrian) TV quite often, I've watched it several times myself. This year, they also aired a rather long and very interesting documentary about this film's making; it included quite a lot of color footage, which was taken during the film's production by one of Charlie Chaplin's relatives. (Can't remember if it was his brother, his cousin, or whatever, though.) They also mentioned that "The Great Dictator" was shown in the Reich's Chancellery, twice. (Maybe it was even the same documentary you mentioned.)

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Psycho Mike
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The Same

Post by Psycho Mike » 18 Oct 2002 00:46

The only problem I have with the documentary is that it states the old canard about Chaplin kicked out of America for being prematurely anti-fascist. He had been sued in divorce court for having asked for oral sex- which in those days was seen as a sign of latent homosexuality- and a reason for divorce!
Chaplin was told he would have to share the profits of his films with her for a period of years- and he took them all off the market!
But what an incredible work this is.
I, too, am an H. P. Lovecraft fan, by the way. Spotted your nomenclature.
Hey- anybody out there from England? Anybody taping THE VELVET TOUCH?

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Psycho Mike
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How Do Germans React?

Post by Psycho Mike » 29 Oct 2002 14:07

To films like The Great Dictator? What are the ratings like? Do you ever see our World War 2 cartoons on the war? Or our propaganda shorts?
Do young people see things like Dictator and The Producers different than older adults?

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Post by Lord Styphon » 31 Oct 2002 02:04

You'll see war cartoons from time to time, some with more to do with the war than others. For the out-and-out war cartoons, only the stuff where the target of the jokes were the Germans are shown. It is a rare experience indeed to see the Japanese targeted. I have seen exactly one.

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Psycho Mike
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Were there German .....

Post by Psycho Mike » 31 Oct 2002 15:10

Were there German cartoons in the 1930's and 1940's that attacked the U.S.? Anybody know?

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col. klink
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Propaganda cartoons

Post by col. klink » 01 Nov 2002 06:02

I saw a documentery/collection of shorts that were shown in Vichy France though I'm not sure if they were show in occupied France. The segments were divided by year. The most interesting one was a cartoon that pictured different American cartoon characters as the crew of some heavy bombers attacking France. Among them was Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, Popeye and I think maybe Goofy. I saw a copy of the tape in the cult movie section at the Nationwide store on Belmont about three or four years agUnfortunately I can't remember the name. I originaly saw it at Facets on the big screen. It also had commercials, newsreels and recruitment films to get French people to go to Germany as voulunteer workers. It was a great slice of life film.
Isn't there also that classic Japanese shadow cartoon about the Greater East Asian Co-Prosperity Sphere and anti- colonialism. I've seen parts of that in a few documentaries.

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Post by Samantha » 01 Nov 2002 15:31

I LOVED The Great Dictator! I thought I wouldn't like anything satirizing Hitler but then I ended up ROTFLMBO. It wasn't really cruel like some satires, it actually showed his habits and personality, and nothing so accurate can be offensive, really.

The bit with 'Hitler' shooting the guy who invented bulletproof clothing... and the bit romancing the secretary then dropping her like a rock... too funny.

Something else that made me laugh myself senseless, was Mel Brooks' "To Be or Not To Be" :-)

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Psycho Mike
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Chaplin

Post by Psycho Mike » 04 Nov 2002 02:59

Chaplin has said if he knew the extent of what was happening under Hitler he wouldn't have made the film. Compared to Hogan's Heroes I think this film was both in good taste and necessary.
Too bad Chaplin didn't see how good- and important- this film was.

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