"The Great Dictator" by Charlie Chaplin (1940)

By contrast, I did not found "Great Dictator" funny at all - back than, cinema audience roared with laughter because Chaplin was poking fun at Hitler and Mussolini and it was a very brave public statement indeed, coming from world's biggest comedian, it seems everybody loved it and it was hugely successful but to be honest, once Chaplin got really engaged into making real politicians (thinly disguised but recognizable) the part of his universal charm and magic was gone for me. This was labored, artificial and plainly anti-German propaganda. Where earlier movies with "Little Tramp" worked so wonderfully on many different levels, this was something done with a determination and its own agenda - anti-war and anti-army I suppose, which in itself sounds very nice and idealistic but is unfortunately it is done very ham-fisted (including final monologue) so I had a constant gnawing feeling this is not a comedy at all, but a Charlie Chaplin anti-German propaganda effort. Yes, there are some funny moments but its all a very broad slapstick, mugging, face-making, grimacing, cake-in-the-face, pot-in-the-head and many 1920s tricks that now look obsolete. Main problem for me is that earlier Charlie Chaplin masterpieces were silent movies and this is the first time he works with dialogue, which don't feel like Chaplin movie at all - I don't have a feeling that he had brilliant script and most of the time its Chaplin clowning around with his than-wife Paulette Goddard - considering seriousness of the real-life story, I just found the whole Jewish Ghetto part of the film very superficial and lightweight. I understand this was American movie for American audiences, made at times when truth about Holocaust was not universally known and everything was just hearsay (how about thousands of Jewish immigrants who escaped certain death in Europe?) but still it feels immature. I understand Chaplin's heart was in the right place and he condemns folly of few greedy, war-passionate politicians in his own way, making them look foolish but WW2 was a horrible, dark and tragic chapter and knowing this, I can't laugh out loud about it - perhaps it is the first-class anti-war propaganda but I don't find it even close to brilliance of his earlier works. Once artist leaves his universal appeal and focuses on particular agenda, it is not magical anymore, its just a well crafted product with a message. 

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