October 18, 2014

The Great Dictator [1940] - amazing speech! - by writer director and lead actor Charlie Chaplin [4mins - Youtube]

Wikipedia:  'The Great Dictator' - a 1940 American satirical political comedy-drama film starring, written, produced, scored, and directed by Charlie Chaplin, following the tradition of many of his other films. 
Having been the only Hollywood filmmaker to continue to make silent films well into the period of sound films, this was Chaplin's first true talking picture as well as his most commercially successful film.[3]
At the time of its first release, the United States was still formally at peace with Nazi Germany. Chaplin's film advanced a stirring, controversial[4] condemnation of Adolf HitlerBenito Mussolini's fascismantisemitism, and the Nazis...In his 1964 autobiography, Chaplin stated that he would not have made the film had he known about the actual horrors of the Nazi concentration camps at the time.'  
Excerpt from, Turner Classic Movies [TCM.com] 'Synopsis': 

'A Jewish barber, suffering from amnesia since World War I, finally returns to his home in Tomania to discover the country overrun with anti-Semitic storm troopers under the leadership of Dictator Adenoid Hynkel. The only ghetto inhabitant strong enough to defy the soldiers is a young orphan, Hannah, with whom he falls in love. When the barber joins a resistance leader he had served under in the war, the two are arrested, just as Hynkel is plotting world domination in meetings with rival dictator Napolini of Bacteria. The barber and his friend escape prison as Hynkel is hunting nearby. When an accident separates Hynkel from his party, the prison guards mistake him for the escaped barber and take him into custody. Meanwhile, Hynkel's storm troopers mistake the barber for their leader. After leading the country in a successful invasion, he delivers an international address repudiating Hynkel's dictatorship and spreading the message of peace and liberty.'
At the time of the film's release '...Charlie Chaplin's films were already banned in Nazi Germany because of the erroneous belief that he was Jewish.'
- by Frank Miller 

Note:  Frank Miller's TCM.com, 'The Great Dictator' page provides absolutely fascinating background regarding the history of the film. Highly recommended. - DVM

Fast facts:
The role of Adenoid Hynkel, was the first character other than The Little Tramp, that Chaplin had played in two decades.
It is the first movie in which Charlie Chaplin acts in full speaking roles, unlike his earlier silent film work.
Charlie Chaplin's film, The Great Dictator, pulled no punches in its searing parody of events unfolding in Europe pre-WWII. Other Hollywood producers and directors were pressured to soften the tone of their productions. 

The Barber's Speech [from the film, The Great Dictator]:

'I’m sorry, but I don’t want to be an emperor. That’s not my business. I don’t want to rule or conquer anyone. I should like to help everyone - if possible - Jew, Gentile - black man - white. We all want to help one another. Human beings are like that. We want to live by each other’s happiness - not by each other’s misery. We don’t want to hate and despise one another. In this world there is room for everyone. And the good earth is rich and can provide for everyone. The way of life can be free and beautiful, but we have lost the way.
'Greed has poisoned men’s souls, has barricaded the world with hate, has goose-stepped us into misery and bloodshed. We have developed speed, but we have shut ourselves in. Machinery that gives abundance has left us in want. Our knowledge has made us cynical. Our cleverness, hard and unkind. We think too much and feel too little. More than machinery we need humanity. More than cleverness we need kindness and gentleness. Without these qualities, life will be violent and all will be lost....
'The aeroplane and the radio have brought us closer together. The very nature of these inventions cries out for the goodness in men - cries out for universal brotherhood - for the unity of us all. Even now my voice is reaching millions throughout the world - millions of despairing men, women, and little children - victims of a system that makes men torture and imprison innocent people.
'To those who can hear me, I say - do not despair. The misery that is now upon us is but the passing of greed - the bitterness of men who fear the way of human progress. The hate of men will pass, and dictators die, and the power they took from the people will return to the people. And so long as men die, liberty will never perish. .....
'Soldiers! don’t give yourselves to brutes - men who despise you - enslave you - who regiment your lives - tell you what to do - what to think and what to feel! Who drill you - diet you - treat you like cattle, use you as cannon fodder. Don’t give yourselves to these unnatural men - machine men with machine minds and machine hearts! You are not machines! You are not cattle! You are men! You have the love of humanity in your hearts! You don’t hate! Only the unloved hate - the unloved and the unnatural! Soldiers! Don’t fight for slavery! Fight for liberty!
'In the 17th Chapter of St Luke it is written: “the Kingdom of God is within man” - not one man nor a group of men, but in all men! In you! You, the people have the power - the power to create machines. The power to create happiness! You, the people, have the power to make this life free and beautiful, to make this life a wonderful adventure.
'Then - in the name of democracy - let us use that power - let us all unite. Let us fight for a new world - a decent world that will give men a chance to work - that will give youth a future and old age a security. By the promise of these things, brutes have risen to power. But they lie! They do not fulfil that promise. They never will!
'Dictators free themselves but they enslave the people! Now let us fight to fulfil that promise! Let us fight to free the world - to do away with national barriers - to do away with greed, with hate and intolerance. Let us fight for a world of reason, a world where science and progress will lead to all men’s happiness. Soldiers! in the name of democracy, let us all unite!'
High-quality, high-definition, digitally remastered;
Amazon.com five-stars; Charlie Chaplin's maverick Hollywood masterpiece for tolerance, pre-WWII:
The Great Dictator [1940]

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