Photo by Warner Bros.
In October 15 1940, was released the movie ‘The Great Dictator’. The film is about a barber wounded during the First World War returns home after 20 years within hospital walls. His shop has grown full of cobwebs and dust, but it is the hateful graffiti on his shop window that takes him totally by surprise. Hynkel, the tyrannical dictator, and his henchmen persecute the barber, as well as the rest of the Jewish community, including the beautiful Hannah, a visionary satire that marked history, just as history itself left its mark on the film.
Stars: Charles Chaplin, Paulette Goddard, Jack Oakie
Director: Charles Chaplin
To celebrate the 75th birthday, here are some of the curiosities about this movie.
- Adolf Hitler considered Charles Chaplin to be one of the greatest actors he had ever seen, while Hitler assumed that Chaplin was a Jew.
- Charles Chaplin said that had he known the true extent of Nazi atrocities, he “could not have made fun of their homicidal insanity”.
- Financed entirely by Charles Chaplin himself, and his biggest box-office hit.
- Released 13 years after the end of the silent era, this was Charles Chaplin’s first all-talking, all-sound film.
- At the 1940 Academy Awards, the film got five nominations. It failed to win any Academy Awards, and Charles Chaplin was hurt by this.
- Adolf Hitler banned the film in Germany and in all countries occupied by the Nazis.
- Shot for 539 days.
- Color behind-the-scenes footage exists, including the only footage of an aborted ending in which soldiers break into a folk dance.
- The scene where Charles Chaplin dances with a globe had its origins in a 1928 home movie in which Chaplin also toyed with a globe in similar fashion.
- The world premiere of the film was held at two packed theaters (the Astor and Capitol) in New York on 15 October 1940. It was a much anticipated gala affair attended by many luminaries, including Alfred E. Smith, James A. Farley, Franklin D. Roosevelt Jr., Fannie Hurst, Charles Laughton and Elsa Lanchester. Charles Chaplin and his wife and co-star Paulette Goddard made an appearance at both theaters. They watched the movie in a loge at the Capitol with H.G. Wells, Constance Collier and Tim Durant, among others.
- Charles Chaplin (Adenoid Hynkel / The Jewish Barber) and Jack Oakie died only 29 days apart: Chaplin on December 25, 1977 and Oakie on January 23, 1978.
- To keep the characters separate, Charles Chaplin shot most of his scenes as the barber first, then moved on to Hynkel’s scenes.