The Great Dictator

The Great Dictator

Charles Chaplin
 Cast: Charles Chaplin
Charles Chaplin
, Paulette Goddard
Paulette Goddard
, Jack Oakie
Jack Oakie
, Reginald Gardiner
Reginald Gardiner

Blu-ray (Black & White / Mono)

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"This is the story of the period between two world wars--an interim during which insanity cut loose, liberty took a nose dive, and humanity was kicked around somewhat." With this pithy opening title, Charles Chaplin begins his first all-talking feature film, The Great Dictator. During World War I, a Jewish barber (Chaplin) in the army of Tomania saves the life of high-ranking officer Schultz (Reginald Gardiner). While Schultz survives the conflict unscathed, the barber is stricken with amnesia and bundled off to a hospital. Twenty years pass: Tomania has been taken over by dictator Adenoid Hynkel (Chaplin again) and his stooges Garbitsch (Henry Daniell) and Herring (Billy Gilbert). Hynkel despises all Jews and regularly wreaks havoc on the Tomanian Jewish ghetto, where feisty Hannah (Paulette Goddard) lives. Meanwhile, the little barber escapes from the hospital and instinctively heads back to his cobweb-laden ghetto barber shop. Unaware of Hynkel's policy towards Jews (in fact, he's unaware of Hynkel), the barber gets into a slapstick confrontation with a gang of Aryan storm troopers. He is rescued by his old friend Schultz, now one of Hynkel's most loyal officers. Thanks to Schultz's protection, the ghetto receives a brief respite from Hynkel's persecution. The barber sets up shop again, developing a warm platonic relationship with the lovely Hannah. But things take a sorry turn when Hynkel, angered that a Jewish banker has refused to finance his impending war with Austerlitz, begins bearing down again on the Ghetto. Near the end of the film, when the dictator is expected to make another one of his hate-filled, war-mongering speeches, the barber steps up to the microphones...and Charles Chaplin drops character and becomes "himself," delivering an impassioned plea for peace, tolerance, and humanity.

Product Details

Release Date: 05/24/2011
UPC: 0715515080613
Original Release: 1940
Source: Criterion Collection
Region Code: A
Presentation: [B&W]
Sound: [monaural]
Time: 2:05:00
Sales rank: 1,661

Special Features

New high-defintion digital restoration with uncompressed monaural soundtrack; The Tramp and the Dictator (2001), Kevin Brownlow and Michael Kloft's documentary paralleling the lives of Chaplin and Hitler, including interviews with author Ray Bradbury, director Sidney Lumet, screenwriter Budd Schulberg and others; Two new visual essays, one by Chaplin archivist Cecilia Cenciarelli and one by Chaplin biographer Jeffrey Vance; Color production footage shot by Chaplin's half-brother Sydney; Barbershop sequence from Sydney Chaplin's 1921 film King, Queen, Joker; Deleted barbershop sequence from Chaplin's 1919 film Sunnyside; Rerelease trailer; Plus: A booklet featuring an essay by film critic Michael Wood, Chaplin's 1940 New York Times defense of his movie, a reprint from critic Jean Narboni on the flm's final speech, and Al Hirschfeld's original press book illustrations

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Charles Chaplin Adenoid Hynkel, Dictator of Tomania,Jewish Barber
Paulette Goddard Hannah
Jack Oakie Benzino Napaloni
Reginald Gardiner Schultz
Henry Daniell Garbitsch
Billy Gilbert Herring
Grace Hayle Mme. Napaloni
Maurice Moscovich Mr. Jaeckel
Emma Dunn Mrs. Jaeckel
Bernard Gorcey Mr. Mann
Paul Weigel Mr. Agar
Robert O. Davis Actor
Chester Conklin Actor
Eddie Dunn Actor
Eddie Gribbon Actor
Peter Lynn Actor
Hank Mann Actor
Esther Michelson Actor
Florence Wright Actor
Nita Pike Actor
Carter De Haven Bacterian Ambassador
William Arnold Actor
Henry Bergman Actor

Technical Credits
Charles Chaplin Director,Producer,Screenwriter
Wheeler Dryden Asst. Director
Willard Nico Editor
Russell J. Spencer Art Director
Karl Struss Cinematographer
Roland H. "Rollie" Totheroh Cinematographer
Meredith Willson Score Composer,Musical Direction/Supervision

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