Tuesday, May 11, 2010

The Great Dictator (1940)

Hail Hynkel!

When I was a kid, my father once brought home a projector and we watched 2 movies: one with Mickey Mouse and one with Charlie Chaplin. The room was filled with laughters. I think that time Charlie Chaplin movies were shown on TV sometimes. Sadly they are not anymore.

The Great Dictator reminded me of one of my childhood's happiest moments. Charlie Chaplin is a timeless comedian, arguably even the greatest. This movie, although a comedy, I found the story was moving. In the WW1, a Jewish barber from Tomania saves an officer's life. The barber is injured and sent to a hospital, while out there the politics are changing. Dictator Hynkel now rules Tomania and he hates the Jews. Instead of receiving a medal, the barber is harassed by the patrol. It's a coincidence that Hynkel looks alike the Jewish barber (both played by Chaplin). I like very much the two crosses symbol. My favourite scene is when Hynkel plucks medals from the Field Marshal's uniform - and when they are all gone, he plucks the buttons. 

Released in 1940 when Hitler was in high power, this movie was an instant favourite for his enemies. A more serious tone on The Great Dictator's theme can be seen in István Szabó's Sunshine (1999), that it's hard to assimilate, even though one has had fought for their country.

St Luke says, "The Kingdom of God is within man". Not in one man nor a group of men, but in all men. In you! ~ the Jewish barber

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