T O P

TIL that Charlie Chaplin's first speaking role was the last 5 minutes of The Great Dictator, a parody film about Hitler. It was banned in Germany and its supporting countries during WWll.

TIL that Charlie Chaplin's first speaking role was the last 5 minutes of The Great Dictator, a parody film about Hitler. It was banned in Germany and its supporting countries during WWll.

CopsaLau

He actually spoke throughout that film, not just the last five minutes. But that speech was amazing. And he wrote and directed the whole film as a way to ensure that this very speech would reach a wide, captive audience. He needed people to listen. I think we still do.


Apotropaic_Sphinx

He also spoke/sang in Modern Times (1936.) The Great Dictator came out 2 years after The Wizard of Oz (1938) The Jazz Singer came out in 1927. So "Talkies" were around for a while. It was just still a novelty/pain in the ass to do since not all theaters had sync sound, and not all filmmakers were convinced it was artistically necessary.


The_Late_Arthur_Dent

Modern Times is also the ONLY time his Tramp character spoke (or perhaps more accurately, used his voice). Chaplin believed that The Tramp didn't work as a character if he could talk, but the story required him to sing, so to maintain the air of... mystery? imagination? he only sang in complete gibberish. The Barber in The Great Dictator is technically NOT The Tramp (though that's really just semantics since he basically acts the same). Also, I know the post is about Chaplin, not just his one character, but I've always found that little bit of history interesting so I figured I'd put it here in case anyone else finds it interesting as well!


Koifish_Coyote

Modern Times is a name that hasn't aged well


hitforhelp

It's also used in Pablo nutini's song Iron sky. Really powerful song and gives me /r/frisson https://youtu.be/DMiAZfeVohI


Serge-Fabrizio

It's also used in The Chariot's song Cheek. https://youtu.be/3vYrJul2Q0Y


wethotamericanbrian

Hello new friend


angeAnonyme

I didn't know this one, and it's really nice, thanks for sharing. To thanks you, here is the version I listen too regularly, from Hugo Kant: [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H8pUY384iow](https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H8pUY384iow)


supercalifragilism

Solid reco here, thank you.


dohertyc

Came here to say this. This film was essentially CC's pet project, he went through a TON of headaches to make it happen and took on huge personal and financial risk. He knew Hollywood in general wasn't matching the propaganda output of the Riech.


Mr-hoffelpuff

was thinking the same. i wonder how many people have just seen the last 5 min and not the whole movie believing this.


Dry_Mastodon7574

Chaplin first sings a gibberish song at the end of Modern Times in 1936. The Great Dictator was his full talkie in 1940 and is one of the funniest films ever made. It paints Hitler is a very pathetic light and I still laugh out loud at the propaganda speech (also in gibbersh) at the beginning. Even though it was banned in Germany, Hitler did see it and no one knows what he thought about it.


blackcatkarma

A strützen sekt, a hilten sakta plyeten! Mit de wiener schnitzel und de sauerkraut! Sie straffen! Sie straffen!


Annales-NF

That's actually a good transcription!


Witty-Message-2852

My god that scene was amazing. From Herring tightening his belt to Chaplin repeatedly swearing "Cheese und kraken!" and "Banana!' and then falling down the stairs. And the translator, haha. "Liberty is...odious." The whole movie is definitely one of the funniest things ever done. One of my favorite scenes is where Hynkel meets with Napaloni, and he's trying to intimidate Napaloni by seating him in a really low chair. Only for Napaloni to come in and sit on Hynkel's desk, completely ruining the plan.


NolanSyKinsley

The true scope of the atrocities committed by the Nazis was not known when he made the movie. After the war he said that knowing what he learned about the war after the fact, if he had known that during the war he would not have made a comedy movie about it.


amadeus2490

In that day and age, the vast majority of people couldn't really know the full extent of what happened until after the war was over. Even if you knew it was bad.


Safebox

Even soldiers who knew of it weren't believed by superiors. There was a small group who broke in to a camp, documentated what they saw, then broke out. Which eventually convinced higher ups to investigate further.


FutureComplaint

Weren't the locals also unaware of what was happening?


amadeus2490

When the war ended, the American soldiers knew the camps would be hard to believe. They documented everything and made the German people come for tours of those camps, so they could see it all with their own eyes. There were many reports of people crying, and saying "I didn't know it was this bad." Because there was nothing like the internet, and because the nationalsocialist party took control over the media and education, they really made the truth out to seem like a bizarre conspiracy theory. Still, there were dozens of known attempts to assassinate Hitler and surrender to the allies; thousands of people took part in Operation Valkyrie and paid for it with their lives.


bigbangbilly

>Because there was nothing like the **internet**, and because the nationalsocialist party took control over the media and education, they really made the truth out to seem like a bizarre conspiracy theory. Even with the internet we still have people willfully ignoring the truth and at the same time blindly following those that habe no business having a platform


BulkyHotel9790

Disinformation is a helluva drug


amadeus2490

The best thing about the internet is that it gives a voice to people who usually wouldn't have one; The worst thing about the internet is that it gives a voice to people who usually wouldn't have one. I feel like a major issue with Reddit, Twitter etc. is that it mostly represents 13-17 year olds who want to feel like an adult and talk about serious issues. Their heart is in the right place, but they completely lack the maturity or wisdom to understand or handle those issues and it does a serious disservice to them. You go on /r/politics and its strawman essays from people talking about "when im old enough to vote." Dear lord.


me_bails

Question authority and get ready to be damned


Safebox

Some were to an extent, some were willingly ignorant either for their own safety or because it was better not to know. Most camps were in the countryside from what I recall, and any in towns and cities looked like normal POW or internment camps.


Koifish_Coyote

Don't remember for sure but I think they were also rewarded for tattling


MandrakeThePancake

That's not true. Most locals were fully aware that these camps were used to kill people. The guards weren't tight-lipped and often interacted with the locals. On top of that, the stench along with the smell of burning flesh and hair was not something you could ignore. Finally, train after train of people were arriving in these places for many years, with few leaving. The locals knew, but either didn't care or were afraid to speak out. Most were probably ok with it. Even after Hitler was killed and his crimes exposed, 55% of polled Germans still considered him a good leader based on polls the Americans conducted. Germany didn't deal with its past at all in the first few years. It took decades of student protests and political pressure for Germany to finally take action and deal with its past.


me_bails

>based on polls the Americans conducted funny thing about polls, if you don't like the outcome then you simply rerun the poll with a different selection group. Repeat until you get the desired outcome and source that poll. Not sayin that happened here, but to take "poll" stats with a grain of salt. 55% of the people polled would be a better way to word it.


MandrakeThePancake

I doubt it. There were multiple other polls as well, like "Were the Nazis largely a positive or negative force?" etc. They all got more or less similar results, with large numbers of Germans insisting that the Nazis weren't that bad. Also, these polls weren't part of some sinister agenda. They were mostly used by the Americans to get an idea about the sentiments of the German people. You can read more about the surveys here: https://libsysdigi.library.uiuc.edu/OCA/Books2009-07/publicopinionino00merr/publicopinionino00merr.pdf


me_bails

Thats fair. Also the poll doesnt need to be part of some sinister plot per se. But now im picturing a cartoonish evil dude twisting his mustache haha


cruista

I still use the trains scene in class just to compare it to the opening scenes of 'Una giornata particolare', which show Hitler traveling by train to meet Mussolini. Mussolini used the king as a prop on the platform. I want my students to understand real life in the 1930s: dictatorship next to free speech.


thehissingpossum

I think he gets a pass on this, as the film was released in 1940 but the Reinhard death camps weren't built until 1942, the big gas chambers of Auschwitz in 1943. His regret, though admirable, was misplaced.


schnichaels

I still think a comedy about Hitler was important. Plus, that speech.


InnocentTailor

Then Mel Brooks and future filmmakers took it upon themselves to mock Hitler and the Nazis in their own way. Springtime for Hitler…and Germany!


Csula6

True but he was super racist. Hitler was too racist for 1930s America.


ijmacd

> Chaplin didn't just capture Hitler, but every dictator who has followed in his goose steps.


Thoth_the_5th_of_Tho

The film was also banned in the USSR, so it clearly struck a nerve with Stalin.


Futuressobright

The Nazi-USSR non-aggression pact was in effect when this movie came out in 1940, too.


Purtz48

First time I ever heard the speech was about 6 months ago listening to Paolo Nutini song Iron Sky (Spotify took me there all on its own after a play list finished)


Canine0001

Same here! Heard the speech, and I had to look it up.


Purtz48

He's in my current pay list/s now, not sure why he's on a hiatus though.


Ted3333

His speech was haunting, and sadly still all too relevant today.


CrimsonToker707

Definitely agree. It's the most moving speech I've ever heard


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Arcudi

Oddly enough, I decided to rewatch it about 5 minutes before I ran across this post. I'm watching it right now. Mostly because I just wanted to hear the speech again. I listen to it every now and again without watching the movie, but I thought it deserved a rewatch tonight, in full.


onelittleworld

Agreed. It's an all-timer. Genuinely powerful and eloquent text, passionately delivered.


CitationX_N7V11C

People say exactly this all the time then act like authoritarians in the very next breath.


Csula6

If a government has no authority, you end up with a Somalia. Obama killed far more brown kids than the police. No one calls him a facist.


VonSnoe

Strongly recommend People to actually watch it. Has held up surprisingly well.


oasis948151

I wish charlie Chaplin were here now so he could parody current politics.


Meta_Digital

Sadly, the US banned him from coming back for his parody of Hitler.


Count2Zero

Actually he was banned from re-entering the US because of the political climate in the USA at the time. The government was entering the "red scare" and Chaplin was accused of being a communist sympathizer (like how many other Hollywood stars at the time were being denounced). It was actually the author George Orwell who denounced Chaplin to the "House Un-American Activities Committee", but Chaplin had been under investigation by J. Edgar Hoover and the FBI since the 1940s. He was accused of being "anti-American" and also pedophilia, because Chaplin (age 54) had married his 4th wife Oona, when she was 18. Instead of having to go through the immigration process, which would have been stacked against him (like several court cases before, where the FBI manipulated the court and the media coverage), he an Oona decided to settle in Switzerland, where he lived the rest of his life. He did return to the USA to receive a special Academy Award in 1972, though.


Csula6

Actually Chaplin was famous for banging kids. He married a 15 year old after impregnating her when he was like 30. He was a rich socialist pedo who was right about that Hitler guy. Chaplin would not have a career today because he liked to bang underage teen girls. Hoover was not the bad guy. He was a complicated good guy.


MandrakeThePancake

>Hoover was not the bad guy. He was a complicated good guy. Apparently turning the FBI into an American Gestapo makes you "complicated good guy". **I've read a lot of dumb shit on this website, but this takes the cake. Congratulations.** To anyone reading this, here is a small list of the disgusting things this "complicated good guy" did: \- Pushed for the COINTELPRO program, which harassed, blackmailed and reportedly assassinated everything from civil rights activists to political opponents. It was so bad that people were referring to the FBI as an American Gestapo. \- Refused to hand over evidence about the murder of black kids, sealing the records and effectively leaving the perpetrators free. (Luckily, the terrorists were eventually convicted after Hoover's death.) \- Protected klansmen by defaming their murder victim Viola Liuzzo through manipulation of the press. \- Took a shit on the constitution and frequently gathered (often low quality) evidence illegally. "cOmPlIcAtEd GoOd gUy!!" I would be banned from this subreddit if I described how utterly stupid that statement is.


BuhamutZeo

I swear to God my eyes just glossed over the name "Hoover" more than once and I thought you were talking about Chaplin this whole time.


Csula6

America was not the Nazis. We fought the Nazis. Hoover did more good than harm. The Soviet Union murdered tens of millions of people. We can cherry pick the things he did right or wrong all day.


MandrakeThePancake

In what way is going after black people wanting to end Jim Crow combating the Soviet Union? If anything, the racism of people like Hoover helped the Soviet union as they got to exploit the (justified) anger of black people for their own gain. Hoover was a rat and pretty much everyone remembers him as such. Your historical revisionism isn't going to change that.


Csula6

A number of civil rights groups were communists fronts. There were a lot of communists in the civil rights movement. That's just reality. Guess it's still working if you hate America, eh?


MandrakeThePancake

You know, comments like these are reason I don't take the words of dishonest right-wing rats seriously on anything. It's all "free speech" and "don't attack or cancel those you disagree with" when a racist or a misogynist faces a bit public criticism. Political assassination and ignoring civil rights of tens of thousands of people because \*some\* within the movement might be soviet spies? Oh, that's just fine and dandy. Again, your historical revisionism isn't going to change anything. Your boy Hoover is remembered for having created the closest thing to an American Gestapo, only to utterly fail in his endeavors, like conservatives always do.


Csula6

You have to resort to name-calling. I feel sorry for you.


Hrtzy

I heard it was his parody of capitalism that was the problem.


Meta_Digital

That was also a problem, yes. The Dictator triggered the response, because it was really unpopular to criticize the Nazis at the time (capitalist nations were funding and aiding the Nazis in the hopes they would take care of the Soviets for them), but Chaplin did have left leaning politics that became really unpopular as the US started to get into its second Red Scare.


tennisdrums

>capitalist nations were funding and aiding the Nazis in the hopes they would take care of the Soviets for them That's some crazy historical revisionism to claim that. Especially seeing as by 1940, France and the UK had declared war on Germany, and the US was supplying so much material to the UK that they might as well have been at war.


Deeeeeeeeehn

I think it would be more accurate to say that capitalists in general supported the nazis, rather than the governments of those nations. Henry Ford for instance was a very vocal supporter of the nazis up until the US joined the war.


Meta_Digital

The UK allied with the Nazis early on and gave them the industrial center of Czechoslovakia so they wouldn't have to invade the country and provoke a military response.


tennisdrums

That's not what an alliance is. Also, consider the fact that Czechoslovakia *didn't have a border with the Soviet Union*. So you're claiming that the UK was hoping that Germany would attack the Soviet Union even though they didn't have a border with the USSR, but then proceeded to guarantee the sovereignty of Poland and declare war on Germany when they invaded. What you are claiming doesn't make sense when you look at what actually happened.


Meta_Digital

Yes. That was what the UK government itself said it hoped the Nazis would do, and guess what, they actually did it. The Soviets did most of the fighting with the Nazis. The reason the Allies got involved is because the Nazis didn't just go after Eastern Europe and the USSR; they also attacked Western Europe and became a threat. Before that, capitalist countries were happy to have a bully fight off the socialists for them.


tennisdrums

Boy this is some bad history for several reasons: 1) You are ignoring the fact that the UK and France declared war on Germany after it invaded *Poland*, not a Western European country. Look at a map, Poland is *between Germany and the USSR*. If the UK and France wanted Nazis to take care of the USSR for them, how would they expect that to happen if the Nazis didn't go through Poland? Why would declare war on Germany for invading Poland. 2) Germany's attack on the USSR happened *after* the UK and France had declared war on Germany. The UK was happy Germany attack the USSR because the UK was losing, and now they had a new ally to help win the war. 3) The UK and the US threw *tons* of resources into supplying the USSR during the war. Seems a little odd that they would do that if they really wanted the Nazis to wipe out the USSR.


Meta_Digital

1) Why would the industrial center of Czechoslovakia be given to a militarizing nation the world knew was gearing up for invasion? It's because they wanted to influence the direction of that growing war machine in the direction of the common enemy. Western countries were already purging socialists. Poland was a hotbed of socialist activity at the time. The problem wasn't that the German military went through Poland, it was that the Nazis weren't behaving as intended. Liberals have a long history of coddling and then losing control of their fascist attack dogs. 2) Yeah, it didn't play out as they hoped. It did play out as many predicted it would. Once it became clear that Germany was a threat to Western Europe, attitudes shifted. Notice that no more industrial centers for military production were gifted to the Nazis. 3) That's right. Germany became a more immediate threat than the Soviets. They actually hoped the two would destroy each other. That didn't happen, and we entered the Cold War era.


In_Thy_Image

> Also, consider the fact that Czechoslovakia didn't have a border with the Soviet Union. People were aware of the German “ambitions” in regards to the USSR and had no illusions that Poland would be a problem, as is evident from this 1936 [interview](https://www.marxists.org/reference/archive/stalin/works/1936/03/01.htm) with Stalin: “Howard: Poland, however, protested her unwillingness to permit any foreign troops using her territory as a basis for operations against a third nation. How does the Soviet Union envisage such aggression by Germany? From what position, in what direction would the German forces operate? Stalin : History shows that when any state intends to make war against another state, even not adjacent, it begins to seek for frontiers across which it can reach the frontiers of the state it wants to attack, Usually, the aggressive state finds such frontiers. It either finds them with the aid of force, as was the case in 1914 when Germany invaded Belgium in order to strike at France, or it "borrows" such a frontier, as Germany, for example, did from Latvia in 1918, in her drive to Leningrad. I do not know precisely what frontiers Germany may adapt to her aims, but I think she will find people willing to "lend" her a frontier.”


tennisdrums

I mean, that's all well and dandy, but then Stalin secretly made a pact with Hitler to nearly simultaneously invade Poland from both sides and divide it between Nazi Germany and the USSR. He willingly made a deal with Hitler that created a border between their two countries. He then was reportedly caught extremely off-guard by Operation Barbarossa, even though we're talking about a mobilization of millions of troops for an attack that would span an entire continent. So I'm very confused by this whole narrative of "everyone knew Hitler was going to attack the USSR". No, they didn't. Not even the *leaders of the USSR* expected it, despite the fact that there would have been plenty of opportunities to notice the mobilization of literally the largest invasion in world history. *Maybe* you can find *some* people in Western countries that bought into Hitler's "fighting global Communism" rhetoric. But by and large the leadership of countries like the UK, France, and the US were extremely suspicious of Hitler and his goals (seeing as they had literally all came of age fighting a war against Germany, that shouldn't be too shocking). But they were elected by people who had no interest in repeating WW1, so they conceded what they thought they needed to in order to avoid another war.


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AllofaSuddenStory

And bang teen girls


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BuhamutZeo

So many angry downvotes for something that makes perfect, yet uncomfortable, sense.


Canine0001

I highly recommend people to look it up and listen to it. For a silent film actor, he has a very strong speech here.


General_Apathy_II

The speech plus Zimmer's music from Inception is pretty awesome: https://youtu.be/w8HdOHrc3OQ


zomangel

https://youtu.be/WibmcsEGLKo Link for you all. The music was added by the uploader, but when I first saw this years ago, I thought it added to it so well


BrokenEye3

It also sheds some light on why Charlie resisted taking speaking roles for so long during the sound era. It's hard to imagine the Little Tramp character he made his name on speaking in such a refined accent, but that was what Chaplin's voice sounded like.


biffbobfred

Trivia: the first film attacking Hitler was The Three Stooges, with You Naszty Spy. You mean the Horowitz brothers didn’t like Hitler?


ghotiaroma

I've also heard he had to rewrite it to be more vague so it would be allowed in the US. Who at the time was a lot less against Hitler than we like to pretend we were.


biffbobfred

Henry Ford had a photo of Hitler on his desk. A lot of the “patriotic” iconography of the current alt-right came from this time period.


Spindrune

Which is still weird to me, because I wouldn’t put a picture of a foreign leader on my desk even if I agreed with them vehemently.


ghotiaroma

So, a xenophobe then?


Spindrune

Me? No. I honestly wouldn’t put a picture of any leader up like that. Idk, the whole pictures of politicians on your desk thing is pretty weird to me.


Thoth_the_5th_of_Tho

By 1940, the US was already supplying the UK with lend lease, doing convoy escort for them and about to occupy Iceland on their behalf. The US wasn't formally in the war, but it was far from neutral.


ghotiaroma

> By 1940 ... The german army was being supplied and supported by many American companies including Ford, GM, and IBM. After 1945, well just read about Operation Paperclip. Our hatred of Hitler has been greatly enhanced for historical reasons.


82Miller

Really great speech.


royrocks26

TIL too! Just watched the speech. Pretty powerful.


StupidFlandrs

Magnificent speech


Dwirthy

One of the best speeches ever.


mrbeamis

[Achive.org](https://Achive.org) has this movie free.


madeindavid

And the American political status quo persecuted him, attacked hi and said he was a Marxist. He was driven out of Hollywood and America. The America political status quo is a dictatorship dressed in aloe of freedom and democracy. This is one of the most beautiful speeches a non political person have ever said.


Thoth_the_5th_of_Tho

He was denounced by George Orwell (who was a socialist himself). Dislike for Charlie Chaplain's politics went way beyond the US.


MisterMarcus

There were also several personal scandals involving affairs, alleged love children, and way-too-young-for-him women..... He even tried leaning into this sudden bad publicity by taking on a much darker role in 'Monsieur Verdoux', but this wasn't what the public wanted from The Little Tramp. His public persona, at least, would have been in serious trouble even without any political background.


Verithos

Then again we don't know if those were fabricated because he was so outspoken against the US at the time.


MisterMarcus

I mean, it's a plain fact that he married women like 1/3 his age.


CitationX_N7V11C

The people who claim the US is a dictatorship have neither understood the US or a dictatorial regime.


Csula6

No, pedophile. We said he was a pedophile.


corpdorp

Isn't it funny that Hitler grew his moustache in imitation of Charlie Chaplin then Chaplin would go on to play Hitler and not need any changes to his own look. Life and art imitating.


IrishWithoutPotatoes

The metalcore band Kingdom of Giants incorporated it into their song “Virtue.” Oddly enough, it works REALLY fucking well. So if you’re into metalcore and haven’t listened to and KoG, check it out!


monkey-2020

I loved the stooges' take on Adolf. [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qqPTW5rObbQ&ab\_channel=PorflePopnecker](https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qqPTW5rObbQ&ab_channel=PorflePopnecker)


BlueOysterCultist

Curly's Goering outfit is *chef kiss*


Aumakuan

Hitler was also a massive fan of Charlie Chaplin (the mustache was Chaplin's and Hitler .....sorta drove it off a cliff) so this was Chaplins way of saying get your dick off my leg.


Dark_Vengence

Wasn't he a pedo?


DaveOJ12

No. All of his wives were of age.


Splarnst

>WWll World War lowercase L lowercase L?


jableshables

You're getting downvoted, but OP definitely used lowercase L's in place of capital I's


Splarnst

It's fine. If the first person or two downvote, other people will downvote just because they saw it had a negative score.


EternamD

World war LL ?


condoriano27

We think too much and feel too little.


jrstok

Best speech EVER! Well, Pale Blue Dot is up there too.


Transpatials

It wasn't just the last five minutes, it was the whole movie, and the article you posted doesn't even say that. Did you just google it and pick the first article about it because you already knew?


slyfoxninja

This is factually incorrect.


DaveOJ12

Why is it wrong?