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DVD Review

DVD cover

The Great Dictator (1940)


Starring: Charlie Chaplin, Paulette Goddard and Jack Oakie
Park Circus
RRP: £15.99
Certificate: PG
Available 10 May 2010

A young Jewish Barber is caught in a plane crash during the First World War. After 20 years in hospital the Barber is horrified to discover that his country is under the rule of fascist dictator Adenoid Hynkel; who bears a remarkable resemblance to the Barber. With Hynkel ready to invade his neighbouring country Osterlich with his fascist ally Benzino Napaloni, will the Barber be able to spread his message of world peace before the bombs and tanks are deployed...?

The Great Dictator (1940) is one of Charlie Chaplin's most famous films. It was his first move into talkies and is a celebrated political satire which was a rather brave move by Chaplin. At the time America was at peace with Germany and Hitler could do no wrong in his peoples eyes as he had turned around the country's economy and unemployment was at an all time low.

However, Chaplin foresaw the danger that Hitler and his regime posed to the rest of the world. On numerous occasion since, Chaplin did confirm that if he'd known of the true atrocities that the Nazi regime had carried out that he would not have made the film.

Yes it's aged and the jokes are incredibly obvious for a modern audience, but for a movie that was originally released 70 years ago The Great Dictator is still surprisingly fresh.

Extras include Charlie the Barber 1919 Short (7 min, 31 sec); Behind the Scenes Colour Footage (26 min, 16 sec interesting raw footage of numerous scenes); Chaplin Today (26 min, 16 sec feature which puts the movie into historical context - although I did find the critics analysis of the inflatable globe scene to be a little over the top); and Chaplin Showreel (10 min, 46 sec brief clips of various Chaplin movies).


Darren Rea

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