The Great Dictator (United Artists) (1940)

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Nothing New In Party Rallies Life Story Of Charlie Chaplin Proves That Nothing Succeeds Like Success Chaplin Is Hero To Other Actors; Great Performers Say He's Best Superlatives Flow When His Name Is Discussed Of all people in the moving pic¬ ture industry, there has been more manufactured mystery about Char¬ lie Chaplin, whose new comedy, “The Great Dictator,” comes to week, than any of his contemporaries. Because he has earned that title, “genius”—so often bestowed lightly but never more aptly than in Char¬ lie’s case—because his picture mak¬ ing absorbs practically all his wak¬ ing hours, because he has never sought the limelight of publicity or obviously grabbed at fame, stories have cropped up about him like mushrooms. Actors, interviewers, strangers ply his co-workers with questions. “What is Chaplin really like?” A representative picture of Chaplin in each of his productions adorns the walls of the publicity office. Reginald Gardiner and Bob Davis, fellow actors, sauntered in. Davis, also a teacher at the cele¬ brated Max Reinhardt’s Theatre, was like a schoolboy. “May we look around?” They fairly danced about the room. “Reggie! Look at this one from the ‘Gold Rush.’ His expres¬ sion .” and here his voice trailed off in awe. “But this one, Bob, from ‘The Pilgrim.’ The pathos in the very slouch of his body,” said Reggie— and here he stopped. “And this one from ‘The Circus’ —just the back view of him lifting himself up by the trousers for a peek into the tent.” So it went on, from picture to BLITZKRIEG ON SKEPTICS The skeptics who said Charlie Chaplin “couldn’t talk” are in for a pleasant disappointment when the famous comedian’s new film, “The Great Dictator,” will open at the.Thea¬ tre on . Charlie always maintained that his famous Tramp character should not speak. Experiments in that field at the start of his last picture, “Modern Times” convinced him of that for all time. No one could visualize the type or sort of voice the Tramp should have. Dialects were at¬ tempted, but in the final analy¬ sis, pantomime won out, and the famous character with the baggy pants, cane and big shoes re¬ mained silent. But in “The Great Dictator,” Charlie deviates for the first time and talks on the screen. And as though that weren’t enough of a novelty, Charlie portrays two characters—a hil¬ arious situation brought about through mistaken identity. — picture, rapt admiration and affec¬ tion for “the little man” leaving them incoherent. Gardiner, known not only for his fine work on the radio as well as screen, is famed for his intelligence, wit and charm. He went on. “You know every place I go—and I’m invited to more places now they know I’m working with Charlie— people immediately gather around and ask, ‘What’s he like? As a person, and to work with?’ And be¬ lieve it or not, all I can say in reply is that working with Chaplin has been the greatest experience of my life. I’ve known him as a friend for a long time and admired him, All Want To Watch Him Work; Some Get Nervous but until you’ve worked with him, you can’t possibly comprehend the true greatness of the man.” The first day the well-known comedian, Billy Gilbert, worked with Charlie he was openly ner¬ vous. He forgot his lines, was so taken aback watching Chaplin work, he found himself missing cues—an audience instead of an actor. “Certainly I ‘blew’ my lines,” he said when asked about it. “Who wouldn’t—working with the great¬ est actor perhaps the world has ever known. Besides Charlie, none of us know anything!” Maurice Moscovich, famed for his characterizations on both stage and screen, watched Charlie al¬ most reverently as he took direction from him—just as a novice would do. And when time came to say goodbye, he asked Charlie for a picture. He came to the publicity department handling the prized photograph as tenderly as the most idolizing fan. “I would so like Charlie to auto¬ graph this for me, for he is the greatest man I’ve ever known,” he said simply. “But I couldn’t pre¬ sume upon his time to bother him with the request now. Perhaps one day when he isn’t busy—a propi¬ tious moment—you won’t mind ask¬ ing him for me.” Jack Oakie, who needs no intro¬ duction to the public, is making a come-back, so to speak, in the Chap¬ lin opus. They often speak of pro¬ fessional jealousy, but certainly there was no evidence on Oakie’s part. When he came over for the interview he was as excited as though it were his picture debut. Comedian Had Little Schooling; Was Self-Supporting At Age Of Nine; Organized Own Studio in 1918 One of the most amazing success stories in the world is Charlie Chaplin’s. At the age of 28, he was not only one of the most famous and best loved men in the world, but wealthy in his own right. The same year he built the Chaplin Studios starting his own Film Mothers Her Specialty Emma Dunn, who plays the ini*' portant role of “Mrs. Jaeckel” in the new Charlie Chaplin comedy, “The Great Dictator,” now at the . Theatre, has enacted perhaps more mother roles in her career than any other actress. And true to tradition she again has a similar role in “The Great Dictator,” only this time acts as sort of “foster mother” to orphaned Paulette Goddard in the picture. Starting in her early twenties as “Ase,” she “mothered” the fam¬ ous Richard Mansfield in “Peer Gynt.” In “The Warrens of Vir¬ ginia,” stage play produced by David Belasco, she was parent to Mary Pickford and Cecil B. de Mille. “Old Lady 31” was written es¬ pecially for Miss Dunn by Rachel Crothers, and she scored a sensa¬ tional success on Broadway in the play. Other notable stage appear¬ ances were co-starring roles with Henry Miller and Ruth Chatterton in “The Changelings” and with the late Alice Brady in “Sinners.” Such widely diversified charac¬ terizations as the Spanish mother of Gary Cooper in “The Texan,” southern mother of Lawrence Tib- bett in “The Prodigal,” Italian mother of Leo Carrillo in “The Guilty Generation,” Jewish mother in “Cohens and Kelleys in Holly¬ wood,” a German mother in “The Man I Killed” prove her versa¬ tility as a dialectician, and her first talking picture found her playing an Irish mother to the three Moors brothers—Owen, Tom and Matt. Jack Oakie as the other dictator in “The Great Dictator.” 17 A—One Col. Scene (Mat .15; Cut .25) producing company which, since its inception in 1918, has never pro¬ duced anything but artistic as well as financial successes. The son of theatrical parents, he earned his own living from the time he was nine years old. By his own admission, his schooling was spas¬ modic. But even as a very young boy, those who knew him say, Charlie was studious. When he joined the Karno Repertoire Com¬ pany as a lad in his teens, he was never to be found in the “gay spots” when the day’s work was done, as did the other young fellows in the troupe. Instead he would remain in his room, trying out new steps, figuring out “funny business” that would make his part of the show outstanding. That he succeeded is a matter of record, for in 1913, when the com¬ pany came to the United States, an agent for Mack Sennett spotted him immediately. From that mem¬ orable day in November when he entered pictures, his rise has been meteoric. Formed Own Company After the first two Sennett pic¬ tures, he wrote and directed his own comedies. When his contract expired, Charlie signed with Es- sanay at a greatly increased salary, then on to the Mutual and First National Companies in rapid suc¬ cession. Upon completion of this latter contract, he decided to pro¬ duce for himself. And who will ever forget “Shoulder Arms,” “The Kid,” “Woman of Paris,” “Gold Rush,” “Circus,” “City Lights” and “Modern Times?” Author, producer, director and star of all his productions, with the single exception of “Woman of Pans,” in which he did not appear, Charlie’s talents appear endless. Writer of two books, many songs as well as the greater part of the musi¬ cal scores of “City Lights,” “Modern Times” and “The Great Dictator,” he has an enviable reputation as an athlete, having held the amateur long distance running champion¬ ship in England, is an expert tennis player, angler, musician (playing any musical instrument extant, al though he has never taken a lesson nor can he read music), is a recog¬ nized authority on economics and world affairs. In fact, a list of what Charlie cannot do would be easier to compile than one containing his many accomplishments. A Real Veteran Paul Weigel, who plays “Papa Agar” in the new Charlie Chaplin comedy, “The Great Dictator,” com¬ ing on . to the . Theatre, was born in 1867 in Halle, Germany, of Austrian-Italian par¬ entage. He has appeared on the stage since 1886 in the United States in support of such well known stars as Mrs. Fiske, in “Becky Sharp,” with Julia Marlowe in “When Knighthood was in Flower,” the famous Maurice Barrymore and practically every noted star of his time. From 1906 to 1915 he acted and directed German stock in Denver, Colorado. Entering pictures in 1916 playing Fanny Ward’s father in “Each Pearl a Tear,” some of his late successes have been “May¬ time,” “The Great Waltz,” “Never Say Die,” “The Life of Louis Pas¬ teur” and “Zola.” “The Great Dictator,” which was written and directed by Charlie Chaplin himself, also features in its cast Paulette Goddard, Jack Oakie, Henry Daniell, Billy Gilbert and Emma Dunn. Page Twenty-three