Charlie Chaplin

Criterion releases THE GREAT DICTATOR

Article: Criterion releases THE GREAT DICTATOR

In 1940 the Nazi’s established four new concentration camps at Neuegamme, Gross-Rosen, Natzweiler and Auschwitz; later that year Charlie Chaplin released THE GREAT DICTATOR. As the U.S. was not yet at war, Hollywood was actually worried about offending certain European dictators. Indeed, the film was immediately banned in occupied Europe. But Chaplin had other worries, namely, was this a time to be funny about dictators? How do you make jokes about such a touchy and personal subject without seeming crass or insensitive?