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The Great Dictator (Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray]


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The Great Dictator (Criterion Collection)  [Blu-ray] + Modern Times (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray] + City Lights (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray]
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Product Details

  • Actors: Charlie Chaplin, Jack Oakie, Reginald Gardiner, Henry Daniell, Billy Gilbert
  • Directors: Charlie Chaplin
  • Format: Black & White, Full Screen, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region A/1
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.77:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • MPAA Rating: G
  • Studio: Criterion
  • Release Date: May 10 2011
  • Run Time: 125 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (51 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B004NWPXZS
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,601 in DVD (See Top 100 in DVD)

Product Description

Product Description

In his notorious masterpiece The Great Dictator, Charlie Chaplin (City Lights, Modern Times) offers both a cutting caricature of Adolf Hitler and a sly tweaking of his own comic persona. Chaplin (in his first pure talkie) brings his sublime physicality to two roles: the cruel yet clownish “Tomanian” dictator and the kindly Jewish barber who is mistaken for him. Featuring Jack Oakie (Thieves’ Highway, Lover Come Back) and Paulette Goddard (Modern Times, The Women) in stellar supporting turns, The Great Dictator, boldly going after the fascist leader before the U.S.’s official entry into World War II, is an audacious amalgam of politics and slapstick that culminates in Chaplin’s famously impassioned plea for tolerance.

Amazon.ca

Since Adolf Hitler had the audacity to borrow his mustache from the most famous celebrity in the world--Charlie Chaplin--it meant Hitler was fair game for Chaplin's comedy. (Strangely, the two men were born within four days of each other.) The Great Dictator, conceived in the late thirties but not released until 1940, when Hitler's war was raging across Europe, is the film that skewered the tyrant. Chaplin plays both Adenoid Hynkel, the power-mad ruler of Tomania, and a humble Jewish barber suffering under the dictator's rule. Paulette Goddard, Chaplin's wife at the time, plays the barber's beloved; and the rotund comedian Jack Oakie turns in a weirdly accurate burlesque of Mussolini, as a bellowing fellow dictator named Benzino Napaloni, Dictator of Bacteria. Chaplin himself hits one of his highest moments in the amazing sequence where he performs a dance of love with a large inflated globe of the world. Never has the hunger for world domination been more rhapsodically expressed. The slapstick is swift and sharp, but it was not enough for Chaplin. He ends the film with the barber's six-minute speech calling for peace and prophesying a hopeful future for troubled mankind. Some critics have always felt the monologue was out of place, but the lyricism and sheer humanity of it are still stirring. This was the last appearance of Chaplin's Little Tramp character, and not coincidentally it was his first all-talking picture. --Robert Horton --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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Most helpful customer reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Nix Pix on Oct. 5 2003
Format: DVD
Without a doubt, Charlie Chaplin is the reigning king of silent comedy. His impeccibly limber gesturing, sense of timing and evocative facial features have made him a landmark artist, a masterful film maker and one of the greatest talents to ever grace the silver screen. What more can be said; does it get any better than the little tramp?!? And now, Warner Home Video proves that it does, indeed get better; a lot, lot better. Having had to contend with poorly transferred, badly worn VHS and primative bootlegged DVD copies for years, the home video audience at last gets to witness Charlie in his best video incarnation ever! This box set features four classics from the Chaplin legacy; Modern Times, The Gold Rush, The Great Dictator and Limelight. In each case, Chaplin illustrates the art of making movies as no one before or since. Great fun!
THE TRANSFER: No expense has been spared in making each film sparkle as never before. The gray scale is incredibly rich and beautifully balanced. Blacks are deep. Contrast levels show off Charlie's make up. Fine detail is gloriously realized. Minor edge enhancement and some pixelization do occur but nothing to distract or even hint that anything but absolute care has been taken to make these films look as good as they possibly can. Almost all age related artifacts are gone. Truly, I can't say enough to recommend these transfers. The audio is mono and nicely balanced.
EXTRAS: Each disc comes with a brief featurette on Chaplin's legacy and some interesting supplimental extras including outtakes in some cases and interviews in others.
BOTTOM LINE: No more to be said: don't walk - RUN to your nearest video retailer and make the Chaplin Collection a part of your home video library!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Pabster on July 17 2004
Format: DVD
Most have heard of Chaplin. Though many have not seen an entire movie of Chaplin's. This collection is a great way to expose and introduce a younger generation to the visual comic genius of Chaplin. Kids who happen to have a short attention span forget that Chaplin is B&W and silent when they watch this. That's how good he is. This collection brings honor to Chaplin's greatest achievements by presenting the movies with superior picture quality. The extra featues are great! This is a "must-have" for any DVD enthusiast.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Curt Surly on June 28 2004
Format: VHS Tape
This film is an excellent piece of anti-axis propaganda in the guise of a hilarious satire of totalitarianism. Chaplin portays two characters who's resemblance to one another is merely coincidental. One is a Adenoid Hynkel, dictator of Tomania with a jewish name, the other a Jewish barber with impeccable instincts for sussing out trouble. Overall, "The Great Dictator" attempts to demonstrate the idiocy of war. By turning the key players into buffoons, it portays the war machine as a circus. This film is much more than a lampoon of the Nazis, however. The silliest characature of all is of Benito Mussolini. Jack Oakie's portrayal of the Dictator of Bacteria, Benzino Napaloni, is the highlight of the film. He's like a stereotype of one of those "larger-than-life" tourists who bluster with absolute authority wherever he goes. It is really hard not to picture him in the loudest hawaiian shirt know to man. It is really obscenely funny. The interaction between the two dictators provides the most sustained lunacy in the film. Their attempts to one-up one another are just brilliant.
"The Great Dictator" does have an extremely serious side. There is an attempt to portray the plight of the displaced Jews with care and much pathos. It works, more or less. The Jewish Ghetto is given enough attention that the viewer develops a connection with them as they attempt to get on with their lives. Maurice Moscovitch as Mr. Jaeckel is particularly effective. Paulette Goddard plays Hannah as a rather dim, dreamy stumblebum. She's cute, but occasionally annoying. Sometimes, it feels like Chaplin has transported Hannah back to the Wizard of Oz--she speaks in that same half-whimpering, dreamy manner as Judy Garland's Dorothy.
Finally, this film certainly transcends any single political agenda.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Candace Scott on April 12 2004
Format: DVD
Charles Chaplin was the greatst cinematic genius of the 20th century. His brilliance was celebrated and recognized for decades, but then America brutally turned against him. How it grieved him that his adopted homeland, the country that had given him fame, riches and untold fortune, denounced him as a Communist and basically didn't allow him back into the country. What a singular disgrace. His story is told magnificently in these four films, spanning thirty years. We open up with the little tramp and conclude with the haunting, depressing, yet poignant "Limelight." This last film is my favorite of them all, with Charlie's unique, beautiful voice speaking so softly to a 19 year-old Claire Bloom. It was send chills down your spine to see his work (finally) restored to its original glory. The final scene, with Keaton standing behind, when they slowly draw the sheet over his face signifies the artistic death of Charlie Chaplin. No one went out with more grace and pathos.
If you're a long-time Chaplin fan or a Charlie newbie, this set has something for everyone, from the globe dance in "The Great Dictator" to the depressing scenes of Calvero unable to make his audience laugh anymore. It's all here and it will touch anyone with a love of film. There was only Chaplin and this set shows the entire spectrum. My highest recommendation.
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