51- The Great Dictator [9.5]

The story of the period between two world wars–an interim during which insanity cut loose, liberty took a nose dive, and humanity was kicked around somewhat.

Over the course of the last six decades, the concept of physical comedy has de-evolved into gross gags that don’t require much imagination. One needs only to look back at Charlie Chaplin to see how physical comedy can be done successfully without having to offend for the sake of laugh.

The Great Dictator is more than just a showcase of Chaplin’s comedic talents– it is at turns a dramatic, romantic and political satire film. The frequent tonal shifts may turn some off, but I was pleased with how cohesive the whole movie felt. Gluing together everything are Chaplin’s two performances as Adenoid Hynkel and the Jewish Barber. Besides being a daring film to make in 1940, The Great Dictator stands as a great achievement in cinema that I take to be the highlight of Chaplin’s career.

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