Tag Archives: comedic genius

The Great Dictator: A Nazi Slap to Hitler

In another vein, for a different class, I watched Charlie Chaplin’s The Great Dictator. I gotta tell ya, this is a completely different pace in comparison to the movies I usually watch. I’m all about movies after 1970, the color films, the 100 minute movies. I’m not usually up for the 2 hour black and white snore fests. But this one was at least a bit different. Hey dad, looks like I’m growing up a bit with a little taste of cultured film.

The Great Dictator is the story of a note so great dictator, Adolph Hitler. Cleverly renamed as Adenoid Hynkel, Charlie Chaplin mirrors the rise of Hitler into power and his subsequent actions in his self appointed office. Parallel to this is an image of Chaplin’s Tramp character, the

It’s just too uncanny…

Jewish barber. After having served during World War I, the barber lost his memory and didn’t realize the war had been lost or that Hynkel had been put into power. The persecution of the Jews is underplayed in this movie (it seems as if they’re not treated that poorly), and Chaplin later apologized after finding out about the concentration camps. A depressing issue indeed.

The parts that make this movie funny is only about half of the film. There’s Chaplin’s speech as Hynkel, accurately mimicking Hitler’s wimpy return salute, and the German language and Hitler’s oratory style is dead on. The short English retorts are perfect and simply explain just what Hitler was up to. The bumbling idiots of Hynkel’s cabinet, characterized by Henry Daniell as “Garbage” and Billy Gilbert as “Herring”, strongly insinuate Himmler and

Too legit.

Goebbels (maybe some Goreing thrown in there). The floating globe is amazing and the slapstick is always good. I had no idea how much of a comedic genius Charlie Chaplin was.

The other half of the movie contains the plot. And I found it to be a very uninteresting one. The Jewish barber falls in love with a Jewish washing woman, and the Nazi Gestapo harass her and the barber all day long. After finding the man whose life he saved in the war, the barber befriends Schultz (Reginald Gardiner) and sets about a coup in order to kill Hynkel (if only they had…). Things go wrong, identities are mistaken, and Chaplin (the barber) gives a profound speech at the end, one I felt was directed right at Hitler. Coming out in 1940, this movie, viewed twice by Hitler, was a plea to stop the war. If only it had succeeded.

A lot of the stuff in older movies like this feel the same to me. The long credits at the beginning, the old time music, the higher pitched male voices and long shots, it’s all a constant. I have to admit I was a bit sleepy after this one. But the subject matter and slapstick are what really saved it for me. It was an

A love made in boredom?

extremely clever spoof of Hitler’s Nazi regime and spoke a lot to the things I’ve been learning about in my Holocaust class. I would recommend this one to history buffs and fans of old films, because this one is one of those classics (if you can’t get a hold of an actual copy, check out YouTube for the whole film). Not exactly my style, but I still appreciate it. 7.3 out of 10.

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Chappelle’s Show

It had to end sometime, but I’m betting a lot of people who watched this show as hardcore fans wish it hadn’t have ended as soon as it did. I’m not going to get into the details many of you may know about why Chappelle left the show. It was his choice and I respect that. This review is just going to be about how wonderful the show was and my appeal to maybe bringing it back.

So the premise of Dave Chappelle’s Show is quite simple and brilliant. In a series of sketch comedy scenes, Chappelle addresses the issues of racism, ethnic tension, and the ways in which we deal with issues between the races. In a not so subtle way, I feel that Dave Chappelle attacked racial stereotypes in a not so subtle manner. By displaying the

UNITYYYYY!!!

ridiculously racist ideals of the U.S., Chappelle showed that even in a entertainment type setting, these racist views aren’t plausible in today’s society. Now, Chappelle said in one of his recordings that, “You know why my show is good? Because the network officials say you’re not smart enough to get what I’m doing, and every day I fight for you. I tell them how smart you are. Turns out, I was wrong. You people are stupid.” In an offensive way, Dave Chappelle is addressing the issue that the stereotypes are what makes everyone laugh. It doesn’t do anything else. It doesn’t make us think. I’m sure there are those of us that it does do more than make us laugh at the racism, but the show lost sight of that (i.e. Lost Episodes).

One of the best written sketches, and I think it went over people’s heads.

What made me laugh about this show wasn’t necessarily the racism and stereotypes. What made me laugh were the ridiculous characters and the great way the dialogue was written. I’m not gonna say I was above laughing at some of the racist jokes, but it was more characters like Leonard Washington and Tron that made me laugh at the exaggerated mannerisms that were displayed in their sketches. And I felt that Dave Chappelle tackled more than just racism. He talked about ridiculous pop culture. Be it Grand Theft Auto or Cribs, Chappelle showed just how ridiculous our society has become in what it values and projects. He handled the political and the ethics of society. He even displayed, in a good light, just how pervasive and progressive African Americans have

Now that’s a position you wanna see.

become in society. Yes, the Lost Episodes went in the wrong direction, but it was the abrupt end of what was before a good thing.

And this show was a very good thing. It brought to my attention that Eddie Murphy’s brother is funnier than he is. He proved to me that white people can be included in black comedy and join in the laughter without feeling awkward. He’s brought out the issues of drug use among society, race relations, and African American views on just about everything. He pushed the boundaries at a time that being politically correct was more important than anything else. He spit in the face of keeping silent on issues that actually matter. And I applaud him for that.

Game, blouses. May you never quit comedy, Dave Chappelle.

So, if you are one of those people who this show passed by, check it out now. It’s all on Netflix. Bask in the glory of what is considered in the top 50 of all time best shows on television. It may have been too short lived, but Dave Chappelle is an intelligent and sensitive person who understands quality is better than quantity. And he makes some of the best quality sketches I’ve seen. So, for all his hard work and comedic¬†genius, Chappelle’s Show deserves a 9.1 out of 10.