Henry and Kristl are awed by The Great Dictator.

“Chaplin’s masterpiece?” Henry asked.

“Uh. Modern Times is a good movie too. There are also others. Like The tramp and I belief…eh”

“City Lights?”

“That one.”

“The Kid?”

“Oh.. I guess.”

“Figured an commie like you would name Modern Times.” Henry smiled.


“You mentioned Modern Times. A commie would like it. The movie is just an attack on capitalism.”

“Uhm. Commie? Well.. let’s talk about that in due time.”

“On with Hitler.. eh The Great Dictator.” Henry said.

“I bet he couldn’t laugh about it, but I wonder.. would Mussolini have laughed about it?”

“I bet not. I bet that people who are dictators can’t laugh about themselves, if they could they wouldn’t be dictators.” Henry said.

“Wow.. that is an observation of life.”

“ I can observe life as well as anyone else can.”

“I bet.”

“So a masterpiece?”

“Yes and no.”

“Yes and no?”

“Well it’s a masterpiece in the way it is made and what it is about and the statement Chaplin makes. That makes it an unique movie.”

“But it is also a long slapstick movie, which has it’s moments at times, like when Hinkel and Napaloni meet, but still feels like a bit old fashioned even in the 1940. Like those chase scenes when the Schulz troopers are after him.”

“Schulz.” Kristl laughed.


“It is a funny name as it means guilt. It is an apt name because Schulz saves the jewish barber because he owes him for saving his life, but later on he feel guilt because he has supported Hynkel. I wonder if Chaplin was deliberate in that.”

“Might be.” Henry said, “I found most of the story somewhat dull and sometimes strange. Like when nobody sees the similarity between Hynkel and the jewish barber. Also it has a nice feel about it. Like those Nazi were not nice people, but the it is probably meant as a slapstick. So it had to be nice.”

Kristl nodded, “The story has it’s odd twist and turns. Like that Hynkel and the jewish barber switch roles. It is as if he mixed two kind of movies. A serious movie and a slapstick movie.”

“It might be.. I found it a bit long in the tooth.” Henry yawned.

“Still it remains a masterpiece.”


“It is a tribute to the belief that we are all humans, each and everyone of us, and that we could live in peace. The end speech is often felt as an awkward long statement.. but it is here that you feel Chaplin shoving aside the movie and directly addresses the viewer. It was of course not done and it must have felt embarrassing by many to be directly talked to. As a method of movie making it was seldom seen in a normal movie. It clearly brought out the idea that you can invoke a strong emotion by directly talking into the camera and the audience.”

“And that makes it a masterpiece?”

“That and his direct appeal to humanity.”


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