Monday, July 29, 2013

"Machine Men With Machine Minds"

According to the 2002 documentary The Tramp and the Dictator, Adolf Hitler not only saw Chaplin's parody The Great Dictator, but he saw it twice. Prior to the film's making, Chaplin had made Hitler's hit list in a Nazi propaganda book under the section "Artist Jews" and was considered a "pseudo-Jew." The now famous speech at the end of the film was inspired by Hitler's attack on France, though Chaplin admitted later that he would have never made the film if he had known the full extent of the Nazi horror. In the film, the Jewish Barber (as he is identified in the credits) is mistaken for Adenoid Hynkel, the dictator of Tomainia, and vice versa (with Hynkel being arrested by his own soldiers while away on a duck-hunting trip). He delivers an impassioned speech at the end, calling for kindness, gentleness, universal brotherhood and democracy.

The original speech (linked to above) has no music, just the powerful words of Chaplin's Jewish Barber. Yet, the edited version below demonstrates (once again) just how important a film's musical score can be.* Feel the words as they were meant to be felt.

*The piece in the video is "Time" by Hans Zimmer from Inception

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