Charlie Chaplin’s (though billed as Charles in this film) first full length all sound picture, The Great Dictator was a ground breaking in its time for its anti-fascism. When the film first started production in 1937 the world hardly knew of the atrocities Hitler was doing. Charlie decided to do the film after a friend of his told him how much he looked like Hitler. After learning they were born a week apart, were the same height and weight, Charlie decided to use these similarities to make a strong political statement. What came of it is the classic film The Great Dictator.
Chaplin has always been a bit of a ‘take him or leave him’ kind of cinema giant. Take his wonderfully inventive comic ballet moments, for instance and leave (in fact, completely erase from the memory) his rather unsubtle shifts between high comedy and low, lachrymose, drama.