Video Review

The Great Dictator

MPAA Rating: Unrated

Details Movie Rated: Unrated; Genres: Comedy, War; With: Charlie Chaplin and Paulette Goddard

What drove Chaplin to wrap up his burlesque of Nazi Germany with a deadly serious, six-minute, into-the-camera speech imploring mankind to disarm? Misguided passion, that's what — and with this meticulously researched laser package, you can explore how his antifascist fervor nearly inspired him to film a far more maudlin, self-important finale. After The Great Dictator itself (here restored to astounding clarity), a still-frame appendix of script outtakes reveals that the specters of Lincoln and Christ were originally to appear in a closing montage-along with goose-stepping storm troopers suddenly dancing and ordering gefilte fish. Chaplin never did come up with a digestible coda, but the disc makes charting the ingredients a gourmet treat. A-

Originally posted Apr 30, 1993 Published in issue #168 Apr 30, 1993 Order article reprints

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