Books and Movies Reviews

The Great Dictator

The Great Dictator made in 1940 by Charlie Chaplin was at the time a controversial film because it exposed Nazism and anti-Semitism with both humor and horror. In his film, Chaplin plays the two main characters: Adenoid Hynkel, the tyrannical dictator of Tomania and a Jewish barber persecuted by Storm Troopers in the ghetto.
The movie begins in 1918, at the end of the First World War. The Jewish barber is fighting on the franco-german front and in the thick of the battle, inadvertently rescues a pilot and both fly away to safety. Unfortunately, due to their catastrophic landing, the barber looses his memory of the war. Then he is released from the hospital in the late thirties and goes back to work in his barbershop in the ghetto. However, he doesn’t know that the soldiers of the Double Cross (instead of a swastika) who persecute and terrorize people are now controlling his town. At one point, he stands up to them and is almost hanged. Fortunately, by a twist of fate, the pilot whom the barber saved in the war becomes one of Hynkel’s top men and out of gratitude, orders the Storm Troopers to leave the ghetto alone. Due to his courageous act the barber wins the admiration of a pretty neighbor girl, Hannah.
Meanwhile, Hynkel demands the wealthy Jews to fund his invasion on Osterlich and when the Jews refuse, he launches an attack on the ghetto. The barber is then thrown into a concentration camp. Tomania's dictator also holds a meeting with the Dictator of Bacteria, Benzino Napaloni, to discuss the territorial situation in Osterlich. Napaloni holds troops at the border and agrees to remove them only if Hynkel signs the treaty, which he does. When the attack on Osterlich is ready to begin, the barber escapes and is mistaken for Hynkel, leading up to the final and powerful speech.
Many of the characters in the film were clearly not entirely fictional, which was one of the main objections from certain political groups in America…

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