Image copyright © by Marcus Trahan

The Tramp and the Dictator


A real find! It’s a “Making of” sort of documentary about one of Charlie Chaplin’s greatest films, and certainly his most courageous. At the time he made The Great Dictator, it wasn’t thought to be a wise thing to make a film angrily lampooning Adolph Hitler. America was still neutral as regards the Nazi regime. Chaplin did it anyway, and it is a triumph. By that time he had become such a perfectionist that it ran over time and over budget. But what wasn’t known until recently was that Charlie’s brother, Sydney, was on the set making color home movies! This is absolutely fascinating stuff if, like me, you are a Chaplin fanatic. You see him rehearsing scenes on the massive outdoor set. There is much more information, and a lot of made of the many similarities in the lives of Chaplin and Hitler. From Wikipedia:

Several similarities between Hitler and Chaplin have been noted and may have been a pivotal factor in Chaplin’s decision to make The Great Dictator. Chaplin and Hitler had superficially similar looks, most famously their toothbrush mustaches, and this similarity is often commented upon. (Tommy Handley wrote a song named “Who is This Man Who Looks like Charlie Chaplin?”) Furthermore, the two men were born only four days apart in April 1889, and both grew up in relative poverty with alcoholic fathers and ailing mothers. Both were great fans of composer Richard Wagner.

I don’t put much stock in that, but I agree that the resemblance may have been a factor in Chaplin’s determination to make the film. A must-see for film buffs.