It was some 11 years after the dawn of the talkie before Charles Chaplin made the leap to dialogue-driven sound film. While City Lights and Modern Times were very much “sound” films, they lacked the one key ingredient that most associate with the jump; the spoken word. With The Great Dictator audiences finally heard the “tramp” speak.
It’s actually a little disconcerting hearing Charlie Chaplin speak for the first time. From mute to softly spoken English man in the flash of an eye, it’s actually quite easy to understand why Chaplin was so apprehensive about leaving behind the days of old. Citing communication to the international masses as his reasoning, Chaplin maintained an insistence on dialogue-free cinema for far longer than any of his contemporaries, and was arguably the lone voice (pun intended) to successfully make the leap on an A-list level.
The Great Dictator has the feel of a…
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