Great Dictator Term Paper

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Unlike most of Chaplin's films, it would be difficult to immediately classify "The Great Dictator" (IMDB, 2008) in the comedy genre. In all of his comedic movies, Chaplin introduced original comedic instances. Except for a scene early in the movie, where Chaplin attempts to fire an antiaircraft gun from a seat mounted on the gun, and fails, or his confusion as to the effects of gravity as he flies upside down, there are no original comedic situations. Indeed, the hint of the slapstick is there: the hitting of the storm troopers with a frying pan, or instances where Chaplin escapes those that trying to catch him are tried and tested. Somehow, the talking scenes with sound effects don't make for the same hilarity as the silent movies. This movie would fall more into the genre of satire. Certainly, Chaplin satirizes Hitler and Mussolini is scathing fashion. He not only provides a pitch perfect imitation of Hitler, but also reduces him to a cartoon like bumbler. There is a reason for this movie transcending two or even three genres (the third would be drama). This is because, Chaplin presciently realized that the next few years would be filled with misery and hardship for millions of people the world over, and he was trying his best to make a statement that would force people to reevaluate the need for war.Buy full Download Microsoft Word File paper
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Term Paper on Great Dictator Assignment

2. Here I will pick the very first scene of the movie. The first two stills give an indication that the film is about the rise of a dictator Hynkel. The second still informs us that it is 1918. The voice over tells us that they country Tomania (Germany) is on the brink of losing the war. The next scene is the one which depicts scenes of battle and the Tomanian lines. Here we see explosions from bombs presumably launched from the enemy and landing near the Tomanian soldiers. The Tomanian soldiers are either installed in bunkers or move about the bunkers carrying supplies, arms and wounded men on stretchers. Others fire rifles and machine guns at an unseen enemy. This entire scene appears to be shot in two or three takes. The camera tracks over this scene of battle and soldiers moving through the bunkers. The tracking is very slow and deliberate -- almost in no hurry to move on to the next scene. The camera is also positioned at a vantage point that allows the viewer to take in a large area of the battle field, not particularly concentrating on any one soldier or a group of soldiers. The camera wants to give the audience an overall view of the battlefield to give them a sense of not just the battle itself, but the battle as a microcosm of the First World War. The camera then pans over to something specific, a gun that does not work (as a symbol for what Germany was trying to accomplish). It is almost impossibly large gun that is allegedly capable of sending a projectile more than 100 miles, but only succeeds in hitting an outhouse within view through binoculars.

3. I chose the last scene of the movie. This is where the barber, confused as the dictator Adenoid Hynkel, gives a speech. His soldiers and advisers are expecting a speech as a call to invade Austerlich (perhaps, Austria, which we know was a supporter of Nazi Germany). But the barber, not even knowing who Hynkel was (or that there was a resemblance to him) gives a speech that bemoans the war and greed and makes a plea for democracy. Since his is a speech of hope the lighting gets softer, providing Chaplin's character with an almost ethereal quality. The back lighting is such that even the Chaplin's hair has a glow to it. The cinematographer is trying to provide a glimpse of hope not just within the context of the movie, but to bring home the message of hope to the viewer that peace needs to be given a chance.

4. The scene chosen to show elements of art direction is the one in the dictator's palace, when Hynkel's propaganda minister, Garbage, tells him how he might carry out his campaign by exterminating the Jews and then the brunettes, and inexorably rise to the leadership position with the world under his thumb. The palace is depicted as a symbol of the man's ego. Hynkel is on such a high, and perhaps, even aroused, on knowing that there is a way for him to rule the world, he effortlessly climbs up the drapes of very imposing French windows. The palace is also very beautifully constructed in keeping with Hynkel's status. But the best example of art direction is when Hynkel views this beautiful lighted globe a symbol of earth where he planned to assert his dominance. Until he picks it up, the viewer has no way of knowing that is a balloon. Hynkel handles the balloon in time to the music with the air of a ballet dancer: tossing it and even "bump" ing it in time to the music. The soaring balloon gives us a sense of the depth and size of the palace. It also gives us an idea through symbolism of how Hynkel considers the world and its inhabitants as playthings, to satisfy his ego.

5. The scene is the first speech given by the Hynkel character. This is a very funny scene. It is amazing here to see that despite the fact that Chaplin is speaking gibberish, using words like wiener schnitzel and sauerkraut, he makes it sounds very plausible. At the same time, the tone of the voice and the delivery style is very similar to what one sees in archived films of Hitler's speeches. Hynkel is standing in front of a podium. Seated behind him, on a stage, separated from Hynkel by a divider, are all his top officers. They resemble the ensemble-musicians in an orchestra. They variably nod in agreement to whatever Hynkel says. One his left is his Field Marshall Herring (a variant on Hitler's Field Marshall Hermann Goerring), and to his right is propaganda minister Garbage (Josef Goebbels). Behind Hynkel is a small table that contains a jug of water and some glasses. Hynkel drinks twice: once in the middle of his speech, where he not only drinks but also pours some water down his pants. There is a definitive sexual overtone to his power trip. In a later scene, he attempts to seduce his secretary using predatory snarls, who first refuses but afterwards submits (Hynkel is called away and cannot consummate his lust). The second time he drinks water, Hynkel accidentally pours water into his ears. Surrounding Hynkel are also six mikes. As he yells his speech, one mike to his left rears back as if afraid of his rhetoric. The other mike, on the left, flips around at the sound of his voice. it's as if his speech is so hot that it melts the metal on which the mikes stand. The scene is very stark and in complete contrast to the softer scene of the barber's speech towards the end of the movie.

6. One of the minor characters in the movie is Herr Schultz. Towards the end of the First World War, the barber (played by Charlie Chaplin) who is a soldier helps Schulz, who is exhausted, escape in his (Schulz's) plane). In flight, Chaplin takes care of Schulz as best he can and saves him from a fiery crash. Schulz has romantic notions of war. He is a decorated fighter, but with no specific Nazi motivations. At the end of the First World War, knowing that Tomania has lost, the barber and Schulz part ways. The barber is institutionalized because of anemia. He has no idea of the turn of events that have propelled Hynkel as the leader of the country. He still thinks he can get back to being a barber. Once, he defies the storm troopers and is almost hanged, when Schulz recognizes him and saves him. Later Schulz realizes the error of the Hynkel regime and works actively against it, even plotting to bomb Hynkel's palace. He becomes a very strong Jewish sympathizer and even uses his powers as an officer to ensure that the barber and the people in his vicinity are not molested by the storm troopers. When Hynkel decides to go after the Jews again because a Jewish banker does not loan him money to finance the war, Schulz comes under suspicion. In the movie, Schulz comes to epitomize many German Christians who sympathized with the Jews and offered them succor. He might also symbolize many German servicemen who followed orders and did the best they could as honorable soldiers, but they never became Nazis. In this respect, Schulz might most closely resemble General Erwin Rommel, the Desert Fox, who fell out of favor with Hitler and was forced to commit suicide. (Eyewitnesstohistory, 1994)

7. This film is a scathing indictment of the Nazism… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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How to Cite "Great Dictator" Term Paper in a Bibliography:

APA Style

Great Dictator.  (2008, May 14).  Retrieved June 3, 2020, from

MLA Format

"Great Dictator."  14 May 2008.  Web.  3 June 2020. <>.

Chicago Style

"Great Dictator."  May 14, 2008.  Accessed June 3, 2020.