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Film Club: The Great Dictator (Chaplin, 1940)

The Great Dictator
The Akira Kurosawa Online Film Club continues its exploration of propaganda films with Charlie Chaplin‘s satirical 1940 film The Great Dictator.

Inspired by Leni Riefenstahl‘s Triumph of the Will and intended as a response to Hitler’s rise to power, The Great Dictator sees Chaplin playing the double role of a Hitler-like dictator Hynkel, as well as a Jewish barber who gets the chance of a lifetime to change the course of history when he is mistaken for the leader.

In addition to our appreciation of Chaplin’s genius, this month’s film raises questions like how does satire work as propaganda and what is Kurosawa’s debt to Chaplin and the other great directors of the silent film era.

The film is widely available on home video, as well as being on Hulu (US) and rentable (in some countries) through Amazon. The Great Dictator also appears to be available on YouTube.

For more information about our film club, including the full schedule of our propaganda series, check out the film club page.


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