Tag Archives: The Great Dictator

The Set of 400: #136 – My Favorite Coin Pudding

Today! Because the misery that is now upon us is but the passing of greed, the bitterness of men who fear the way of human progress –

The Great Dictator (1940)

Directed by Charlie Chaplin (x2)

Starring Charlie Chaplin (x2), Paulette Goddard (x2), Jack Oakie, Henry Daniell (x3), Reginald Gardiner, Billy Gilbert, Grace Hayle, Maurice Moscovitch

The first Charlie Chaplin film I remember seeing, The Great Dictator was no easy sell – I mentioned this quickly in To Be or Not to Be, but Dictator had a variety of issues stateside and abroad when the movie was in production. First, they began shooting in 1937, years before Germany would invade France and kick off WWII, so many were still calling for appeasement at all costs and were anti-intervention. England announced they would ban The Great Dictator when they learned of its production, despite Chaplin’s continued huge star status and this notably being his first all-talking motion picture (Modern Times still had large silent sections in 1936). Many groups pressured Chaplin to abandon the film altogether, afraid it would further inflame Hitler and the Nazis. It was a weird, brief period in history, and thankfully production ran so long on this movie that by the time it came out, public opinion had swung, the war was underway, and The Great Dictator was largely embraced with the classic status it now enjoys. Continue reading

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