28 October 2010
Great Post from Eyeblast TV. Posted by Stephen Gutowski
I was unaware of this but apparently Charlie Chaplin made non-silent films. I was also unaware that Charlie Chaplin, who I always thought would make a good satirical Hitler, actually played Hitler. Not only that but he made fun of and pushed back against Hitler, the Nazis, and antisemitism in 1940 when basically nobody else was.
Needless to say I have a lot of new respect for Charlie Chaplin.
In case you were a bit confused I’ll give you some context for what’s happening in the movie. Apparently Chaplin plays both Hitler and a Jewish barber who happens to look exactly like Hitler. Long story short… near the end Hitler is mistaken for the barber and arrested and the barber is mistaken for Hitler and taken to give an important speech.
The speech, of course, is a blatantly anti-nazi, anti-racism, and pro-freedom. All of which took an incredible boldness in 1940s America given that we were still technically at peace with the Nazis. In fact, while it was in production England declared it would ban the film as a part of their appeasement strategy… their opinion understandably changed after they went to war against the Nazis. This was just plain ballsy.
Why have I never heard of this before? You’d think during my years of education and the hundreds of hours I’ve spent watching documentaries about World War II on the History Channel I would have come across this act of bravery by a world renowned comedian before. Weird.
Either way this gives me a new found respect for Charlie Chaplin.