[Marxism] The Great Dictator

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Wed Aug 3 10:01:26 MDT 2011

I don’t quite know how I managed to get this far in life without 
having seen Charlie Chaplin’s “The Great Dictator” but saw it for 
the first time last night on TCM, the Turner Classic Movie cable 
channel as part of a Paulette Godard festival. Just before “The 
Great Dictator”, TCM aired “Modern Times”. In both films, Goddard 
played Chaplin’s love interest, appropriately enough since they 
were lovers off-screen. The casting choice of Goddard as a denizen 
of a Jewish ghetto in “The Great Dictator” was of some interest 
since she was born Marion Pauline Levy in Queens, NY to a Jewish 
father and an Episcopalian mother although it is unlikely that her 
ethnicity was a factor. As for Chaplin, despite playing a Jewish 
barber in the film (as well as the look-alike dictator of Tomainia 
Adenoid Hynkel) and despite widespread impressions that he was 
Jewish, he was Christian.

Even if you have not seen it, you probably know the outlines of 
this militantly anti-fascist 1940 film. Chaplin plays an unnamed 
Jewish Tomainian soldier who saves the life of a pilot named 
Schultz during WWI. After their plane crashes, the injured barber 
is taken to a hospital where he is treated for 20 years, 
eventually recovering physically but still suffering from amnesia. 
He returns to his barber shop in the ghetto, totally unaware that 
his look-alike Hynkel has seized power and is planning pogroms.

full: http://louisproyect.wordpress.com/2011/08/03/the-great-dictator/

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