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CHAPLIN COLLECTION: THE GREAT DICTATOR: DVD

SYNOPSIS:
Chaplinís biggest financial success and his first film with dialogue, in which he plays a sweet natured Jewish barber as well as his look-alike, the murderous dictator of Tomainia, Adenoid Hynkel, for whom he is mistaken at a crucial moment. Jack Oakie plays Napaloni, dictator of Bacteria, and Billy Gilbert is Field Marshall Herring, with Henry Daniell as Garbitsch.


Review by Andrew L. Urban:
America had not yet entered the war when Chaplin made this high energy satire, but you could be forgiven for thinking that the film itself was the first big gun fired in the direction of Nazi Germany. Todayís equivalent perhaps of Will Smith making a satirical feature based on Rwandaís Robert Mugabe.

Itís a crude satire, certainly by todayís standards, and the best parts are those that rely on Chaplinís well-honed skills as a physical comedian. The barber character retains some of the attributes and accessories of the Tramp from the silent days (hat, cane, etc as well the oddly prophetic moustache which the Tramp groomed well before Adolf did) but the dialogue is often clunky, many of the routines are too long and the concept wears out.

But it twangs the strings of tolerance and human decency with the intensity of the time of its making. The closing speech, made by the barber after being mistaken for Hynkel, is especially notable for its highly charged content and delivery, with no attempt at soothing humour: this is Chaplin at his most earnest.

Superbly remastered and remixed, the soundtrack is crystal clear and the black and white photography is splendid.

The big deal on this disc is the 55 minute doco, The Tramp and The Dictator, narrated by Kenneth Branagh. It opens with the not-so-trivial bit of trivia, that Chaplin and Adolf Hitler were born just days apart. Having set the context with such economy, then doco goes onto explore the two lives. One became the most loved, the other the most hated of men, not only of their time, but of all time.

Published December 4, 2003

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THE CHAPLIN COLLECTION:
THE GOLD RUSH
LIMELIGHT
MODERN TIMES

THE KID
THE CIRCUS
CITY LIGHTS
MONSIEUR VERDOUX

BUY IT HERE

CHAPLIN COLLECTION: THE GREAT DICTATOR: DVD (G)
(US, 1940)

CAST: Charlie Chaplin, Jack Oakie, Reginald Gardner, Henry Daniell, Billy Gilbert, Grace Hayle, Paulette Goddard

DIRECTOR: Charlie Chaplin

SCRIPT: Charlie Chaplin

RUNNING TIME: 124 minutes

PRESENTATION: 1.33:1 (4:3 full frame transfer); B/W; DD 5.1 (remastered)

SPECIAL FEATURES: Disc 1: The Great Dictator (digitally remastered and restored) Disc Two: The Tramp and The Dictator documentary; home movies Ė in colour - on the set by Sydney Chaplin; deleted scenes from Sunnyside (1919); excerpts from Chaplinís black comedy Monsieur Verdoux (1947); poster gallery

DVD DISTRIBUTOR: Warner Home Video

DVD RELEASE: December 3, 2003







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