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film criticism by maryann johanson | since 1997

The Great Dictator (retro trailer)

If you’re tempted to complain that Sacha Baron Cohen’s upcoming The Dictator is in bad taste, take a look at how Charlie Chaplin’s similar The Great Dictator was promoted back in 1940:

While Adenoid Hynkel makes milions of people tremble, Charlie makes them die… of laughter.

To be fair, the extent of Hitler’s depravity wasn’t yet known. Still, no one could have imagined he was a nice guy, and 200,000 Poles had already been killed or wounded when the Nazis invaded the year before.

Modesty was also off the table:

The Great Dictator the funniest film ever made

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