• “An unqualified triumph” is how DVD Movie Central’s Michael Jacobson describes The Great Dictator, out now on Criterion DVD and Blu-ray. He goes on to explain, “The Great Dictator is a landmark film in many ways. Not only was it Charlie Chaplin’s first talkie and the last to feature his beloved Tramp but it was also a superbly timed film that showed the world what it mostly didn’t want to see about a man many blindly admired.  Chaplin’s picture was, in fact, the first indication of what that blindness would cost the world.”

    For the Sundance Channel, Perrin Drumm addresses Chaplin’s daring use of humor in tackling his weighty subject matter: “Chaplin pulls it off, of course, and not just because he’s an adept physical comic with the uncanny ability to imbue his characters with both lunacy and grace (just watch his famous semi-ballet dance with the balloon-globe) . . . Chaplin succeeds because he doesn’t take the easy route of reducing Hitler and his cronies to clownish, stammering, heil-ing buffoons.” Bob Mondello of NPR’s All Things Considered also talks about the famous globe dance; it was “Chaplin's last great moment of pantomimed silent-film-style comedy,” he says. And for the Kansas City Star, Bruce Dancis writes, “Now, more than seventy years after its release, both the humor and the seriousness of The Great Dictator continue to speak eloquently of the genius, courage, empathy and commitment to social justice of Charlie Chaplin.”

    More from the New York Post’s Lou Lumenick and Todd Gilchrist of the Wall Street Journal’s Speakeasy blog.

Leave the first comment

Or using your Criterion.com account.

You are logged in to your Criterion.com account as . Log out.