Quick-Thoughts: Charlie Chaplin’s The Great Dictator (1940)

Charlie Chaplin Marathon Part V of VII

Maybe it’s not quite as funny as The Tramp tales, maybe some of the improvisations go on longer than needed, maybe chunks of the dialogue appear gratuitous rather than required, and maybe the way the plot came together, at the end of the day, felt a bit too slapdash. Yet, The Great Dictator is evidently Charlie Chaplin’s first “talkie” picture, so it’s excusable that it seems far from perfect, but what it isn’t far from is solid. From it’s eternally relevant social commentary to its many passionate performances that reminded me acutely of those from the later feature by Stanley Kubrick Dr. Strangelove, it’s difficult not to respect the living devil out of Chaplin’s holy original war satire. I HIGHLY doubt legendary comedic acts such as Mel Brooks or the Monty Python gang would even have careers without The Great Dictator.

Hitler parodying when Hitler was alive though; now that’s ballsy. Hey, Charles may have been a communist, but as far as I’m concerned, everything he was saying in his famed speech towards the finale of this movie made total sense to me. That truly was one of the most moving moments in the icon’s career. *sniffle*

Verdict: B+

The Eternal Tramp (Chaplin Ranked)

“The Great Dictator” is now available to stream on The Criterion Channel and HBO Max.

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