When one thinks of Charlie Chaplin, the first things (and perhaps the only things) that come to mind are grainy, black & white silent films and brilliant physical comedy. Outside of this, most of us know little about the man. I recently ran across a clip of Charlie Chaplin from his film ‘The Great Dictator’ where, in the final scene, he delivers a remarkably stunning & timeless speech. Check it out:
Written, produced, and directed by Chaplin, this film was his most successful & was released shortly after the start of WWII with a crazed German dictatorship seeking to widen its imperial rule. Since the US was at peace with Germany at the time this film was released (1940), Chaplin’s vision was quite radical in its critique of Hitler, Nazism/Fascism, racism and anti-Semitism (indeed, his vision is eerily timely & relevant). Strange that sometimes it is the clown/comedian/court jester who is the wisest observer of the human condition. As Chaplin puts it, “Life is a tragedy when seen in close-up, but a comedy in long-shot” ).