The Great Dictator Blu Ray

its heil to him... and Hail to him

A Jewish Barber becomes a hero of Tomania during the First World War after recusing a wounded pilot from a plane crash. Sadly in the rescue he was hit on the head, which affected his memory and his mind. He now thinks it has been only a few days since the war ended, when in fact it has been over twenty years. Much has changed and he returns to a country that is ruled by a dictator Adenoid Hynkel. Hynkel blames the Jews and communists for his and his parties short comings. He has started a program to take everything away from the Jewish people and stick them in ghettos. The barber knows nothing of this and when he challenges a bunch of storm troopers he is for it. Violence and politics blend into a dark tapestry. Where those who are the most innocent are subjected to the worst treatment. This brings about the full force of hate and love to a collection of funny, delightfully insightful cinema.

Hes got the whole world in his hands....

Just before the world went to war, it was a common place for political groups to focus blame on certain groups for the state of the world. They blamed those who were vulnerable for the economic climate and social positions that had far deeper complexity to them. Chaplin choose this film to address his political position and his Jewishness directly. Before this he made films about America, his youth, his place in society and then he made a film that addresses the very nature of his being. At one side a skilled satire on fascism and the other a heartfelt song to the people that were his kin. I feel that Chaplin punches hard with this film, he uses the visual touch he has with comedy and blunts it with violence. There is a thin line between the pratt fall and the break neck fall. One has a comedic touch, the other is a cut deeper and has a universal connection to its emotion. Pain does that. Pain hurts and that is a sensation we all have experience of.

This mans a winner.....

To  the Blu Ray itself, I must say that Curzon have done something amazing. Before this release it was the norm to have various additions that are in the main, fillers. They were docs on the war, political parties, social commentary and the like. This distracted from the main event and acted as a sort of grounding to an event that has such heavy cultural significance. It was empty and put me off looking into them deeper. Then we have Curzon choice of extras which are very few. This works! The film itself has some print damage but overall it looks good. The sound quality is a touch soft but then that is only by the by of classic cinema sound and recording.  Listen to the final speech…if this does not convince you that Chaplin is onto something, I don’t know what will…


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