Term Paper: Humor in 3 Films Comedy

Pages: 4 (1394 words)  ·  Style: MLA  ·  Bibliography Sources: 4  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Drama - World  ·  Buy This Paper


[. . .] In a sense, the globe balloon is representative of his ambitions and dreams and when it unexpectedly pops, Hynkel is forced back to reality and dealing with politics. Additionally, Hynkel is also preoccupied with trying to make allies with Benzino Napaloni, the Dictator of Bacteria and a parody of Italy's Benito Mussolini (The Great Dictator).

The most impactful scene in the film is its closing sequence. In a case of mistaken identity, the Jewish barber is mistaken for Hynkel as he attempts to flee Tomania to Osterlich, where he believes he will be safe. This final scene is especially important because it allows Chaplin to voice his criticisms on Hitler and the political turmoil in Europe. In this speech, Chaplin states, "Greed has poisoned men's souls, has barricaded the world with hate; has goose-stepped us into misery and bloodshed…The misery that is now upon us is but the passing of greed, the bitterness of men who fear the way of human progress (The Great Dictator). Chaplin's speech continues to resonate to modern times and demonstrates that although times change, people do not.

Some Like It Hot, directed by Billy Wilder, provides social commentary on a completely different issue altogether. In the film, issues of sex and gender are explored through cross-dressing and courtship. In the film, Joe and Gerry are forced to disguise themselves in order to escape Chicago after witnessing a mob hit and subsequently assume the identities of Josephine and Daphne, respectively (Some Like It Hot). Throughout the film, there is much sexual tension that arises because of their disguises. For example, although Joe and Gerry are attracted to Marilyn Monroe's Sugar Kane, they are unable to act upon their impulses, at least when they are in drag. However, drag costuming does not prevent Gerry/Daphne from being pursued by a wealthy Mr. Fielding who attempts to woo her with flowers and jewels and ultimately proposes to her at the end of the film; Mr. Fielding also completely overlooks the fact that Daphne is in fact Gerry and does not let gender and sex come between them as he refuses to withdraw his proposal on the sole fact Gerry is not a woman.

Likewise, social class also plays a major role in the film. In Some Like It Hot, Sugar Kane sets out to escape her past and wants to marry a rich man regardless of the consequences. By adopting the persona of Junior, Joe woos Sugar Kane into believing he is rich and ultimately demonstrates that society is too focused on appearances and wealth when he succeeds in attracting Sugar Kane. While Sugar Kane attempts to use sex to lure Junior, he reciprocally uses wealth and status to lure her. Ultimately, Sugar Kane realizes Junior, Joe, and Josephine are one in the same and resolves to reunite with him despite him being on the run, poor, and despite the fact that he lied to her.

The influences of these three films can be seen in many contemporary films. The Great Dictator's impact on cinema can be seen in farcical films such as Sacha Baron Cohen's political satire, The Dictator, which creates parallels between his fictional dictator and Saddam Hussein and aims to exploit the absurdities behind Hussein's dictatorship. Likewise, Some Like It Hot's influence can be seen in gender-bending comedies like White Chicks, in which one of the men in disguise becomes romantically involved with another man who refuses to accept gender as a social and sexual barrier. Because society still faces the same issues that were faced during the times when these three films were produced, it is difficult to pinpoint how much things have changed. People are still constantly at the brink of war, people are still being discriminated and persecuted because of their cultural and ethnic backgrounds, and LGBT issues are still in the spotlight and not widely accepted.

Works Cited

Duck Soup. Directed by Leo McCarey. United States: Paramount Pictures, 1933. Netflix Instant

Streaming. Web. 1 March 2013.

The Great Dictator. Directed by Charles Chaplin. United States: United Artists, 1940. DVD.

Polsson, Ken. "Chronology of World History." 14 February 2013. Web. 1 March 2013.

Some Like It… [END OF PREVIEW]

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"Humor in 3 Films Comedy."  Essaytown.com.  March 2, 2013.  Accessed July 19, 2019.