‘The Great Dictator’ At Cable Car
(2.15) Look at that tie. I suspect Chaplin was making a statement with that. The Cable Car Cinema kicks off its Civics & Politics Film Series tonight with Charlie Chaplin’s iconic 1940 talkie “The Great Dictator.”
Chaplin plays two totally opposite roles in his first “talkie,” giving a superb display of his boundless talent for both inspired comedy and powerful drama. One of his masterfully drawn characters is a Jewish barber facing the constant threat of storm troopers and religious persecution. The other is the great dictator, Hynkel, a brilliant lampoon of Adolph Hitler that is awesome proof of Chaplin’s pantomime genius. The movie’s famous highlight comes in its final scene, when Chaplin steps out of character and addresses the camera with an eloquent plea for the triumph of reason and humanity over mindless militarism.
Roger Ebert gives some context to Chaplin’s project, begun in 1938. “Chaplin’s film, aimed obviously and scornfully at Hitler himself, could only have been funny, he [Chaplin] says in his autobiography, if he had not yet known the full extent of the Nazi evil.”
Future installments in the series:
March 7 — I Am Not Your Negro.
April 4 — 1984.
May 3 — All Governments Lie: Truth, Deception and the Spirit of I.F. Stone.
Screenings will benefit non-profit organizations including: ACLU, The Southern Poverty Law Center and the Institute for Non-Profit News.