Saturday, August 6, 2011

Charlie Chaplin as The Great Dictator

Charlie Chaplin...the man who made millions laugh...
Charlie Chaplin
A few weeks ago, while I was visiting Auschwitz Birkenau German Nazi Concentration and Extermination Camp during my trip to Poland (to visit Utku), I found myself thinking of Charlie Chaplin's splendid movie: The Great Dictator (1940). In this movie, Chaplin plays a double role: the dictator Adenoid Hynkel and a Jewish Barber. It is unbelievable that Chaplin had the courage to perform a Hitler-similar character in 1940. After its release, the movie was banned in Germany and in all occupied countries.

The invasion of France by Nazi forces inspired Chaplin to change the ending of his film to include his famous speech which deliberately sends a message to Hitler. The movies excellent ending was graced by this speech given by the Jewish barber who is having been mistaken for the dictator. The part where he speaks in front of a large audience does not only show us how Chaplin was wise and responsible about the current problems of nations, but also how aware he was of the influence of cinema on people and the messages given through it:

The concentration camp in Auschwitz was the largest one of that time. The place of the great horror and sorrow where more than one million of people were killed...These are some of the photos I took during my visit there:

Hitler and Chaplin...Both were born within four days of eachother in 1889. Both hailed to large crowds of people, had the chance to give them messages and change their ideas; whereas one did it by making them laugh, the other did it by upsetting many nations...
Chaplin performing the fascist dictator Hynkel in The Great Dictator (1940)
Recently, I've seen an impressive documentary about Charlie Chaplin (Charlie: The Life and Art of Charles Chaplin (2003)). There, it was marked that Charlie Chaplin has seen Hitler as a competitive of his, since during that time, his fame was everywhere as him...Chaplin's son Charles Chaplin, Jr. describes this as:
Their destinies were poles apart. One was to make millions weep, while the other was to set the whole world laughing. Dad could never think of Hitler without a shudder, half of horror, half of fascination. "Just think," he would say uneasily, "he’s the madman, I’m the comic. But it could have been the other way around."
Later on when they asked to Chaplin if he has Jewish origins, he replies "I don't have that honour".

1 comment:

Fatemeh said...

The film is a satire.Satires are a great vehicle for making a point. Towards the end of the movie Chaplin does drop character and becomes "himself," delivering an impassioned plea for peace, tolerance, and humanity. He was a great man. I like him and I like this quote by Charlie: 'A day without laughter is a day wasted.',