“The Great Dictator” – Nathan’s Movie Challenge, Week 28
“Strange, and I always thought of you as an Aryan. – I’m a vegetarian.”
This was the first Chaplin movie where I’ve heard him speak. He’s got quite a range, and his dual-performance is commendable as both the shy, meek barber and the dimwitted, brash dictator.
The best sequences, however, were all the Dictator’s – from his faux-German gibberish, to his physical comedic timing, to his almost always hilarious interactions with his military leaders and other dignitaries.
It felt a little overlong, and some sequences went on much too long (I’m looking at you globe-balloon dance sequence), but it was altogether a fun romp. The ending speech suddenly got very dramatic, serious, and deep – which was unexpected.
I can imagine this must have blown people away in 1940 – given the state of the world, and Chaplin’s history in silents. He showed everyone he could speak, and speak quite well.
The Great Dictator was at the time of this review at #41 on my Flickchart list of shame (ranked #127 among the best films of all time). Here’s how it entered my chart:
The Great Dictator vs. Event Horizon
While I think Event Horizon is a supremely effective sci-fi horror film, it’s not as well-executed as Chaplin’s film.
The Great Dictator vs. The Man from U.N.C.L.E.
I was kind of surprised by how much I enjoyed The Man from U.N.C.L.E. – something about its leads and its setting just totally works in all the ways a good spy film should. That being said, The Great Dictator defied even more of my expectations and proved itself ably.
The Great Dictator vs. The Exorcist
It’s very hard to beat The Exorcist. Its renown is justified.
The Great Dictator vs. A Christmas Story
Similarly, with A Christmas Story – it’s rare to see a great Christmas movie, and this one stands alone as one of the very best.
The Great Dictator vs. Enemy Mine
The 80s sci-fi no one ever talks about, but should. Surprisingly heavy on drama and featuring powerhouse performances from Dennis Quaid and Louis Gossett Jr.. If you’ve never seen it, do yourself a favor. It’s great.
The Great Dictator vs. Jackie Brown
Of all of Tarantino’s films, the one that seems most unlike the others – and that’s not a bad thing.
The Great Dictator vs. The Blues Brothers
The Blues Brothers. Gloriously ridiculous.
The Great Dictator vs. The Little Mermaid
It’s Disney at the top of its game. Songs that have persisted for years. Just edges out Chaplin.
The Great Dictator vs. Moulin Rouge
Luhrmann’s films are always nice to look at, but get lost in the weeds sometimes. The Great Dictator is pretty much all flowers, no weeds.
The Great Dictator vs. The Rocketeer
Close one, but yeah… The Rocketeer.
The Great Dictator is now ranked #366 out of 1476 movies on my Best Movies of All-Time chart.
Next up is Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?. In the meantime, check out the other films I’ve ranked during the challenge.