The Great Dictator (United Artists) (1940)

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TWO DICTATORS WITH AN AXIS TO GRIND AND A REFEREE "The Great Dictator’’^Speaks, And So Does Charlie Chaplin “The Great Dictator” is Charlie Chaplin's greatest and funniest comedy, and in this scene he is seen with Henry Daniel! and Jack Oakie in one of his more serious moods. This new Chaplin production* which United Artists is releasing, will start a run at the . .Theatre on . 2 C—Three Col. Scene (Mat .45; Cut .75) A Slight Error In “Dictators” What would you do if you had just escaped from a concentration camp, were mistaken for a suddenly victorious dictator—the same who had incarcerated you—and despite all protestations, were acknowl¬ edged the sole dictator of the very country you were trying to escape from? That is but one of the hilarious situations Charlie Chaplin finds himself in in his new film, “The Great Dictator,” which will be re¬ leased by United Artists at the .Theatre on.. In this comedy satirizing world affairs, Charlie is seen in a role other than his famous Tramp for the first time. Not only is the film novel in that respect, but Charlie is seen for the first time in an all- talking film—in dual roles—writ¬ ten, directed and produced by him¬ self. As “The Great Dictator,” Charlie Chaplin loves babies. 11 A^—Une Col. Scene (Mat .15; Cut .25) Everybody Is Cheering Chaplin ’sNewComedy (Advance Feature) Charlie Chaplin is back. After two years of now-you-see-him-now-you-don’t and an incredible confusion of rumors as to whether he would make “The Great Dictator” or not make it, and then, having made it, whether it had to be remade, and then, whether it would ever be publicly shown, the news is that “The Great Dictator,” the first Charlie Chaplin comedy since “Modern Times,” will open at the .Theatre on. Not only that, there are the following foot-notes; that it was com¬ pleted in 171 days of shooting time, which is reasonable enough when it is considered that Chaplin writes the story and the dialogue, directs the story, plays a dual role in the picture, edits it and scores the music. It cost in the neighborhood of more than $2,000,000. That it is the most ambitious and the most expensive production that Chaplin has ever attempted is less important than the fact that it involves the little clown in artistic responsibilities and caricature that he has never before attempted. For, in “The Great Dictator,” Chaplin is seen not only as the little tramp with the derby, the cane and the awkwardly fitting shoes, but in another role as well—that of a mighty dictator of a war-mad power. There are two stories that converge—the story of the little barber from the ghetto, and the story of the palace. Notwithstanding the fact that Charlie has the omnipresence of a dual role, the cast that supports him in “The Grea Dictator” is larger by far and far more important than in “Modern Times,” “City Lights” or any of the earlier Chaplin comedy masterpieces. Paulette Goddard, who has achieved a stardom of her own since she was first introduced in a Chaplin comedy, again is his leading lady, and it is she with whom he plays the poignant romance of the story. Jack Oakie is seen and heard in the connivings of the rival dictator, Napaloni. Reginald Gardiner, well remembered on Broadway as the man who made wall¬ paper talk, is Schultz, aide to the dictator And Chaplin talks. How? His first speech in the picture has been given a dramatic frame; it is an event. He is still the mild and pathetic little man with the doe eyes. His speech is exactly what you would expect as the little clown of screen history. But as the mad dictator, he thunders and roars, rants and screams into a dozen wither¬ ing michophones in an undecipherable guttural. Chaplin, breaking the silence that habitually enshrouds the pro¬ duction of his pictures, points out that notwithstanding any burlesque of history and world events that might be found in “The Great Dicta¬ tor,” no change in the story was necessitated by those events. The story on the screen is as the little comedian first conceived it, without revision. Decision To Talk Required Many Preparations; Comedian Has Excellent Speaking Voice (Advance Reader) It will be very amusing to watch the discomfiture on many faces when Charlie Chaplin speaks on the screen for the first time as evidenced in “The Great Dictator,” which United Artists is bringing to the.Theatre on .. The nearest he has ever come to speech in a picture was the “Titina” number -in “Modern---- Times” in which he sang a song in a sort of gibberish. For many years Charlie has been so identified with the pantomimic role of “the little tramp,” a great number of people came to the con¬ clusion he couldn’t speak, forget¬ ting that prior to his entrance into moving pictures in 1913, Charlie was a recognized actor—not only with the Karno Repertoire Com¬ pany with which he came to the United States, but had played in support of such well known stars as William Gillette, Irene Van¬ brugh and many others. Spoke for NRA When President Roosevelt in¬ augurated the N.R.A., some years ago Charlie made a radio broadcast in its favor. There were many skep¬ tics who, because they couldn’t see him, went so far as to say that though Charlie was announced as the speaker, they didn’t believe it was really his voice they heard. Now, in “The Great Dictator,” they can see as well as hear, and many will marvel that he stayed silent for so many years. As “the little tramp” Charlie, as well as most of his followers, believed he should have no voice. He was uni¬ versally known and understood in pantomime much as the mythical characters of Santa Claus and other people created solely from imagination are known and under¬ stood. In “The Great Dictator,” he deviates only slightly in his inter¬ pretation of his character—wears the same clothes, affects the same inimitable mannerisms that have made Charlie famous. But the problem presented itself —how was he to break his silence for the first time? For each person in a Chaplin audience had his own interpretation of a voice the little man would use. The transition would have to be gradual — and most important of all — for a reason. How Charlie bridged this barrier is only another tribute to his amaz¬ ing ingenuity, and is one of the basic motives for the story. And HOW this is done is one of the many surprises waiting for all the Chaplin fans who so eagerly look forward to his pictures. Charlie Gave A “Cat” Party It was literally a field day for cats on the Charlie Chaplin comedy, “The Great Dictator,” coming to the . Theatre on . through United Artists release. Around the middle of one after¬ noon while shooting on the Ghetto street, Charlie called to his assis¬ tant, Dan James. “I have an idea. Get me forty or fifty cats.” On a movie set one must be pre¬ pared for any emergency so a re¬ quest such as the above is con¬ sidered part of the outline of a nor¬ mal picture day. Within half an hour after Char¬ lie had asked for the felines, a truck came in with boxes and crates of all sizes and shapes, containing a most varied assortment of cats— from the pedigreed Persian and Siamese to the ordinary “alley” kind. After the scene was shot—not without difficulty, for directing five hundred extras is an easy task com¬ pared to such a menagerie, Charlie called, “Now that the ‘actors’ are finished—hamburger, fish and milk for all—and all they can eat!” And did those cats “fall to.” One of the extras on the side¬ lines was heard to chuckle, “If those cats could only talk! Can you imagine them reporting to work at another studio and boasting, ‘We worked at Chaplin’s the other day and he not only paid us, but threw a party for us as well’.” The pretty lady is Paulette Goddard, the gentleman curling her hair is Charlie Chaplin, and the scene is unreeled in “The Great Dictator,” Charlie's funniest comedy, which is now showing at the. .... Theatre. 9 B—Two Col. Scene ( Mat .30; Cut .50) Page Eighteen