Filmsite Movie Review
The Great Dictator (1940)
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The Story (continued)

The Renewed Assault on the Jews - Schultz and the Barber Apprehended and Sent to a Concentration Camp:

Newspaper reports hypothesized that Commander Schultz might be hiding in the Jewish ghetto:

Mystery still surrounds the disappearance of ex-Commander Schultz. At police headquarters, it was believed that the Commander may be hiding in the ghetto. A certain Jewish barber, reported to be a friend of Schultz, is also wanted for questioning.

The barber appeared worried when Jaeckel remembered: "Meyerberg was only wanted for questioning. And we never head of him since." A loud knock at the door prompted the barber to leap into a trunk to hide. At the door, Mr. Mann arrived with the same worry: "Did you hear what they're saying in the papers about Commander Schultz hiding in the ghetto?...Well, don't you think that it's serious for you if they find him here in the house?" Jaeckel noted: "Don't you realize there are spies everywhere!" The barber burst out of hiding, as Jaeckel admitted that the Commander was hiding in the next room.

There were serious concerns about harboring Schultz there in their ghetto residence for much longer: "If Commander Schultz is found in this house, we'll all go to the concentration camp and have our heads cut off in the bargain." Hannah objected to turning Schultz over to the authorities: "You can't throw him out."

The ghetto was being searched for Schultz by military storm troopers, who eventually arrived at the Jaeckel home looking for both Schultz and the Jewish barber. The two escaped and scrambled over the ghetto area's rooftops, taking with them hastily-packed bags (including golf clubs, a hat box, and other personal items in suitcases) that the barber accidentally dropped to the street. Soon after, they were apprehended and condemned to the concentration camp.

Schultz and the Barber Arrested and Imprisoned in the Concentration Prison Camp - and the Jews' Flight to Osterlich:

The Tomainian Times reported two headlines:

  • SCHULTZ CAPTURED ON GHETTO ROOF - Jewish Barber Also Arrested.

Dressed in uniform jumpsuits with individual numbers (7397), the barber was forced to do an exaggerated goose-step in military formation with other prisoners, and continued his march into their guarded prison living quarters, lined with simple cots. The wall was decorated with a portrait of Hynkel above the words "HEIL HYNKEL" and the Double-Cross symbol.

Meanwhile, Hannah and the Jaeckels fled to Osterlich, to escape persecution. Mr. Jaeckel was pulling a wagon (loaded with some of their possessions) across a bridge that marked the border of Osterlich. The Jaeckel family (and Hannah) found living quarters next to a vineyard rich with grapes, and evidently were in more idyllic, prosperous and carefree times. Hannah penned a handwritten letter to the barber about their new lives:

Osterlich is a beautiful country - You will love it here - We are anxiously waiting for your release so that we can all be together again.

After a dissolve, the barber was reading the letter delivered to his cot, and imagining their freedom.

Hynkel's Intentions to Invade Osterlich - But Facing Competition with Neighboring Bacteria's Napaloni:

At the head of a fancy banquet table, Hynkel publicly announced his plan to invade Osterlich, and attributed his success to Marshal Herring:

Gentlemen, I am pleased to announce that we are at last ready to march on Osterlich. This was made possible by the enterprise and genius of Field Marshal Herring, upon whom I shall now pin a token of my regard.

After another German-gibberish speech followed by gutteral coughs, as Herring whimpered in respect, Hynkel added another medal to the Marshal's chest. He then grabbed both of his ears, kissed each cheek, and toasted to the success of the impending invasion. Toast glasses were smashed on the floor and everyone bowed dutifully (Hynkel and the Marshal conked heads).

But then, Garbitsch received a distressing phone call that the 'Il Duce' dictator of Bacteria, Benzino Napaloni (Jack Oakie) was competing for Osterlich and had already launched a preemptive strike: "Napaloni's mobilized his army on the Osterlich front....Already, 60,000 men are on the border." Hynkel was shocked and promptly ordered Garbitsch to declare war:

He's going to take Osterlich... (blaming Herring) You let him steal Osterlich! (He ripped off and tossed away all of Herring's chest medals and some of his uniform and suspender buttons as well, and then slapped him across the face)....
(To Garbitsch) Declare war on Napaloni!...
(to Herring) Listen you blockhead! Mobilize every division of the Army and the Air Force. Proceed to Bacteria and attack at once!

After signing Garbitsch's hastily-prepared declaration of war - and wrestling with his pen holder again, Hynkel received a phone call from Napaloni, but instead urged and advised Garbitsch to speak for him - with an instant change of mood, suggesting: "Be nice, affable, pleasant," while feigning having a hoarse voice. Hynkel whispered to Garbitsch that he should invite Napaloni and his wife to visit the Tomainian palace to discuss the Osterlich situation (where his troops were stationed on the front), in order to avert their attack. Arrangements were agreed to.

Hynkel boasted about how he would upstage and impress Napaloni with his military might, and dissuade the Bacterian leader from carrying out a competing invasion:

We'll give him the works! We'll put on the greatest military show the world has ever known! Convinced of my strength, Napaloni will leave the invasion of Osterlich - to me.

Hynkel ripped up his recently-issued 'declaration of war' and noted: "Peace is declared."

Adenoid Hynkel's Meeting with Benzino Napaloni - At the Train Station and in the Palace Office:

The narrator reported on Napaloni's arrival in Tomainia:

Two million nine hundred and seventy-five thousand eager citizens are massed in the station's square, awaiting the arrival of Benzino Napaloni. Entering the station is our beloved Phooey, ready to greet his distinguished guest. This historic meeting will cement a friendship that has long existed between our Phooey and the Dictator of Bacteria. His Excellency is about to greet the Bacterian ambassador.

Hynkel's cohort Garbitsch had orchestrated the meeting so that the Tomainian statesman would be favorably presented in photographs ("Not the back of his head!"), to intimidate his rival despot. After the train pulled into the station and stopped too far down the platform, the obnoxious Napaloni complained to his wife Madame Napaloni (Grace Hale) that there was no red carpet ("There is-a no carpet"). She didn't care, but he was adamant - a flamboyant send up of Mussolini's Italian dictator, Il Duce:

"Il Digaditchi, me, a-Napaloni, I never get out without a carpet!"

Their pink and white train carriage suddenly lurched and sent both of them to the floor, and then kept attempting to position itself properly for the 'red carpet' greeting, as Hynkel's men rushed about with a rolled-up carpet and Napaloni groused about the "mix-uppa."

Eventually, the two leaders met on the platform, represented by their ambassadors: Garbitsch for Hynkel, and 'Spook' (Carter DeHaven) for Napaloni. Their salutes were entirely out of synch with each other due to one-upsmanship maneuvering. Both dictators posed for a picture and competitively wrestled each other for an advantageous posture. Napaloni introduced his wife to Hynkel (calling him "Hynky"). The boisterous, bulldog-ish, uncouth, obnoxious and grandiose Napaloni continually overshadowed the anxious and neurotic Hynkel with his towering size and his gestures, causing Hynkel increased unease and rage.

In his palace office, Hynkel paced back and forth as he rehearsed his impending meeting to Napaloni, as Garbitsch listened, and explained how he had engineered everything to intimidate Napaloni - to make him feel inferior, and put him at a disadvantage, i.e., the positioning of Napaloni's lowered chair, Hynkel's desk bust glaring at him, and a required long entrance walk:

Hynkel: At all cost, Napaloni shall not invade Osterlich. That country belongs to me!
Garbitsch: At this meeting, we shall not discuss the Osterlich situation. This interview is solely to impress upon him the force of your personality. To make him feel your superiority. This man, Napaloni, is aggressive, domineering. Before we make our demands, we must put him in his place.
Hynkel: Precisely! But, how?
Garbitsch: By means of applied psychology. In other words, by making him feel inferior. This can be done in many subtle ways. (looking down at Hynkel) For instance, at this interview, I have so arranged that he will always be looking up at you. You, looking down at him. At all times, this position will be inferior.
Hynkel: Hmm, excellent.
Garbitsch: Then again, we shall seat him here beside your bust, so that if you relax, that will always be glaring at him....When he arrives, I have arranged that he will enter from the far end of the room. Another psychological triumph. He will have the embarrassment of walking the entire length of the floor toward you.

When Hynkel was alerted to Napaloni's approach, he nervously ordered: "He's coming! He's coming! Quick! Get me a flower! A flower!" Garbitsch reinterated: "Remember, at all times you must be above him, before him. Entering or leaving you must be first."

When Napaloni barged in unexpectedly through an entrance behind Hynkel's desk, he delivered an aggressively-friendly slap at Hynkel's back:

Hello, Hynky! Be good! Wie geht's! [Note: This was a Yiddish expression meaning: "How's it going?" or "How are you?"] Ha-ha-ha-ha-ha ! How you feel? (Their hand-shakes and salutes again never connected) Wait-a minute. Wait-a. Ah, my brother dictator! (He gave a big bear hug instead) You are a nice little man, Hynky. (He shook him vigorously) I'm so glad to see you again!

Napaloni also greeted Garbitsch by punching him in the stomach. Garbitsch's plans for dominance began to entirely fall apart and fail. The Bacterian leader strutted around while critiquing everything: "Ah, this is a lovely place! I been-a fine. I just had-a nice-a cold shower. And that bath tub - as soon as you get the plumbing fixed, it'll be in-a good-a shape." However, the low-positioned chair (with sawed-off legs) in front of Hynkel's desk proved effective for only a few moments until Napaloni stood up and stated that he preferred to sit on the edge of Hynkel's desk instead:

I must be a-growin'! What do they give me? A baby stool? This a-stool is not for me. I like it better a-up-a-stairs here.

Napaloni was complimentary about the country of Tomainia and its people, and flustered Hynkel with his brashness: "You know somethin' Garbitsch, this is a lovely country. Very nice-a people.....(He struck a match on the bust's head) I'm simply crazy about this palace. Ivory and gold. That makes a lovely combination. Gets away from that gingerbread idea."

Hynkel vs. Napaloni - A Visit to the Palace Barber Shop, A Military Review of the Army, and a Gala Grand Ball:

When Napaloni was told the program for the afternoon included a review of the army, he quipped: "Well, that won't take-a long!" Hynkel claimed he couldn't brag about its size: "Modesty forbids!", and then his elbow slipped and he embarrassingly slipped down in his chair.

In the Palace barber shop (the old Emperor's library modernized with newly-installed glass walls, so that Hynkel could admire himself), the two dictators sat down on adjacent barber chairs for a shave. Both jockeyed or dueled for equal and then higher positions by maneuvering the side lever to pump and lift their telescoping chairs more and more. Eventually, the two rivals had raised their chairs so high that they were fifteen feet off the ground.

Later that afternoon at the Hynkel stadium, the rivals sat side-by-side in the stands for a military review. Napaloni was munching on a bag of peanuts and tossing discarded shells toward Hynkel, as the narrator described the event:

Before a half million spectators, the greatest display of arms the world has ever known marches by in review. Our beloved Phooey and He'll-Dig-a-Ditch are seated in the viewing stand, thrilled by this historic event.

When Tomainia's heavy artillery was passing by, Napaloni bragged about his own "new bombing planes" that had flown from 400 miles away - soon to buzz the field. He also chided Hynkel for his "very light" artillery. Next were armored tanks, "the pride of Tomainia's army, the latest design, the last word in modern warfare," although Napaloni claimed he had superior, multi-purpose tanks with propellers: ("You never heard of aerial marine tanks that go under the water and then a-fly up-a stairs?"). Unfortunately, the display of Hynkel's Air Force planes was disastrous - they crashed (off-screen).

That evening, while Hynkel was on an outer balcony of the palace during the Grand Ball, Garbitsch described plans for Tomainia's imminent invasion of Osterlich:

Garbitsch: It's all so simple. Our troops, tanks and guns will be hidden along the border. To disarm suspicion, you will go hunting, duck-shooting or something. At the appointed time, you will show up at Pretzelberg, meet the army, step into an automobile, and cross over into Osterlich. Herring and I will be waiting at the capital to receive you.
Hynkel: First, Napaloni must remove his troops from the border.
Garbitsch: That question will be decided tonight.

In the meantime, Hynkel was urged to dance with Napaloni's corpulent wife, who led him around the dance floor like a puppet. Afterwards, Hynkel excused himself and with Napaloni proceeded to the buffet table "to talk-a things over" - specifically, the issue of "the border situation." Hynkel was served strawberries with cream, while Napaloni preferred a bready sandwich with hot English mustard. Hynkel's desire was to persuade the nation of Bacteria to retreat from the border first (governed by a treaty), but Napaloni was not conciliatory and a stalemate in the discussion soon ensued.

Napaloni: Now Hynky, as far as I'm concerned, I want to make this very simple. This is the treaty. You agree not to invade Osterlich, I agree not to invade Osterlich. We sign the treaty, then I remove my troops from the border.
Hynkel: Good, in other words, when your troops are off the border, I sign.
Napaloni: That's -a right. But! Just a minute, you don't understand. First we sign the treaty, then I remove-a da troops.
Hynkel: Precisely. I sign when your troops are off the border...
Napaloni: Now look. (He held out his version of the treaty) You sign-a dis treaty first. Then I remove the troops after.
Hynkel: Well, what are we arguing about?
Napaloni: You just said I remove-a the troops first.
Hynkel: Well, you don't expect me to sign while your troops are there on the border.
Napaloni: You don't expect me to remove-a the troops until you sign.
Hynkel: Why not?
Napaloni: Why should I?
Hynkel: Why shouldn't you? Osterlich is a free country.
Napaloni: So?
Hynkel: Your soldiers are there, on the Osterlich border! (He flung his plate of food, hitting one of the servers in the head)
Napaloni: And they'll stay there until you sign this-a treaty.
Hynkel: You take them off or I'll blow them off.

The two blustering, exasperated leaders began to argue and shout at each other. Garbitsch intervened and called for reason: "Can't we sit down and discuss this thing without passion?" Hynkel insisted (as he flung backwards another plate of food): "Can't you understand? What would my people think, signing such a treaty when your soldiers are there on the Osterlich border?...Not until you clear that border will I sign anything?" The stubborn-minded Napaloni wouldn't budge: "Then my soldiers remain." Hynkel resisted: "Then I kick them off."

Both threatened to use their artillery against the opposing forces and start a world war. The two leaders forcefully and emphatically made their points with food in their hands. After drowning each other's arguments out, Hynkel was so upset that he mistakenly spooned large amounts of hot English mustard onto his plate of strawberries - and took a large bite. As he flailed about on the sofa, Napaloni also applied too much mustard to his sandwich and began to similarly suffer. However, the two still continued their vehement disagreement. The Bacterian leader reasserted: "He sign-a the treaty or we have a war!" A semi-food fight commenced as Hynkel tossed spaghetti and picked up a salami roll, while Napaloni defended himself with more plates of food.

Eventually, Garbitsch convinced them to negotiate a settlement, to avoid causing a major crisis after their squabble became public knowledge to a reporter from the international press (Don Brodie) who had snuck into the palace ("The press are outside. The whole world will know we are fighting"). During Garbitsch's attempt to keep the reporter out of the room, the foreign correspondent received an errantly-thrown pie in the face. Garbitsch took Hynkel aside and strongly urged him to sign a treaty deal - but then afterwards, he could break his word: "Sign, sign...It's a mere scrap of paper. The moment you sign, he'll take his troops off the border, and we can move in without losing a man." Hynkel agreed and signed their treaty deal before Napaloni removed his troops. After a show of cooperation, Napaloni hugged his "dictator brother."

The Escape from the Concentration Camp - and Mistaken Identity - A Major Role Reversal:

A concentration camp guard reported a prison break: "Two prisoners escaped in officers' uniforms." Schultz and the barber escaped from the camp wearing Tomainian officer 'double-cross' uniforms. As a massive search commenced, the two proceeded through open country toward the Osterlich/Tomainia border.

Meanwhile, Hynkel was on a duck-hunting trip wearing civilian clothes (including Lederhosen or Tyrolean shorts), to throw off any speculation or suspicions about his plan to imminently invade Osterlich. As he contemplated the attack to himself in an open rowboat, he heard a duck flying overhead and fired his shotgun. The kick from the blast sent him overboard into the water. Two guards from the concentration camp heard the gunshot, and came upon Hynkel who had just emerged from the water. They mistook him to be the escaped barber and hit him over the head. They asked a few questions before arresting him and taking him back to the camp:

  • A yodeler, huh? Where'd you get that outfit?
  • Where's your partner? Where's Schultz?
  • You won't talk, huh? He'll talk when he gets into camp.

At the same time, Schultz and the barber approached on foot into the village of Pretzelberg toward the safety of the border ("If we can pass through there, we're safe across the Osterlich border"). Schultz suggested that they must bluff their way forward: "If you see anyone, don't look right or left. We must bluff our way through. Remember, you're a storm trooper." When three camp guards noticed them and followed them suspiciously, the two remained cool and did not run or give themselves away. Soon in the border village, they were recognized as the real Herr Hynkel and Commander Schultz by Tomainian military storm troopers of the 'Double-Cross.' The commanding officer of the troops in the town, readied with a victory-parade, reported that they would be escorted (with great fanfare and protection) by an open car to Osterlich, to meet up with Herring and Garbitsch:

I have been in continuing communication with Marshal Herring in Osterlich, sir. The route ahead of us is well guarded. And at the back of us are 200 tanks, 50 armored cars and 500 machine-guns...Are we ready to start?

Forced by circumstance to assume the identity of Hynkel, the barber was clearly apprehensive and bewildered about his role in leading the invasion of Osterlich.

Headlines from the Osterlich Times and Gazette reported:

  • JEWISH PROPERTY CONFISCATED - State Claims All Tangibles

The brutal take-over of Osterlich was illustrated by the point-blank murder of a young Jewish man on a sidewalk who resisted the military's cruel treatment of his father. At the Osterlich vineyard, Hannah screamed to Mr. Jaeckel that Hynkel's regime had become their new persecutors, and both were slapped and beaten unconscious into subservience by a squad of Tomainian soldiers. After Hannah was struck and flung to the ground, a guard stood over her and sampled grapes from her basket.

Another headline from the Review of Osterlich reported:


'Hynkel's' Victory Speech After the Invasion of Osterlich:

The escaped Jewish barber, obviously mistaken for Hynkel, was expected to address a mass rally in Osterlich's capital, to announce the triumphal annexation of the country. He and Schultz were driven up to a massive concrete dais inscribed with the word "Liberty." The storm trooper commander saluted 'Hynkel': "Your Excellency. The world awaits your word."

As they were led up imposing steps to the upper speaking platform, Garbitsch noted to Herring that 'Hynkel' looked "strange," and then made the assumption that Commander Schultz had been "pardoned." As 'Hynkel' sat down, his wooden folding chair collapsed, and there was a brief comic moment of confusion while the chair was replaced.

First during a brief address, 'Hynkel' was introduced and praised by Garbitsch for conquering and annexing Osterlich as its new leader. He chastised personal freedoms such as democracy, liberty and equality. Instead, he praised the subjugation of the enemy Jewish race, and the ascendancy of the Aryan race - and Osterlich's new "Emperor":

'Corona veniat electis.' Victory shall come to the worthy. Today, democracy, liberty, and equality are words to fool the people. No nation can progress with such ideas. They stand in the way of action. Therefore, we frankly abolish them. In the future, each man will serve the interest of the State with absolute obedience. Let him who refuses beware! The rights of citizenship will be taken away from all Jews and other non-Aryans. They are inferior and therefore enemies of the state. It is the duty of all true Aryans to hate and despise them. Henceforth this nation is annexed to the Tomainian Empire, and the people of this nation will obey the laws bestowed upon us by our great leader, the Dictator of Tomainia, the conqueror of Osterlich, the future Emperor of the World!

Schultz urged the terrified barber to speak courageously and fearlessly ("You speak...You must. It's our only hope") to the newly-conquered citizens - he asserted that it was the only way to save their lives. The timid, out-of-character barber repeated the word 'hope' before he rose and slowly approached the microphones. 'Hynkel' dramatically paused before his seven-minute rousing speech delivered into four microphones. Among the radio listeners were refugee Hannah and the Jaeckel family.

[Note: It has been widely recognized that the speech was incongruous, stylistically disruptive, and not actually delivered by the soft-spoken barber character, but by Chaplin himself (breaking the "fourth wall").]

In the film's closing, he delivered a passionate, anti-fascist, pro-democracy speech that expressed idealistic hope for a better world. It was a complete about-face for 'Hynkel' - who rather than calling for conquest and subjugation, now promoted good-will and brotherhood.

He confronted the imminent threat to world civilization from Nazi dictatorship, and implored all of humanity to make the world a better, less-demoralized place through progress and science, rather than through dehumanizing tyranny. He called for an end to anti-Semitism, and declared that both Tomainia and Osterlich would now be set free and made democratic, with peace and tolerance. He concluded by denouncing the Tomainian government, imploring Tomainian soldiers to abandon their dictator, and seize the Fascist's power and return it to the people.

I'm sorry, but I don't want to be an emperor. That's not my business. I don't want to rule or conquer anyone. I should like to help everyone if possible: Jew, Gentile, black man, white. We all want to help one another. Human beings are like that. We want to live by each others' happiness, not by each other's misery. We don't want to hate and despise one another. In this world, there's room for everyone and the good earth is rich and can provide for everyone. The way of life can be free and beautiful, but we have lost the way. Greed has poisoned men's souls, has barricaded the world with hate, has goose-stepped us into misery and bloodshed.

We have developed speed, but we have shut ourselves in. Machinery that gives abundance has left us in want. Our knowledge has made us cynical, our cleverness, hard and unkind. We think too much and feel too little. More than machinery, we need humanity. More than cleverness, we need kindness and gentleness. Without these qualities, life will be violent and all will be lost. The aeroplane and the radio have brought us closer together. The very nature of these inventions cries out for the goodness in men, cries out for universal brotherhood for the unity of us all. Even now, my voice is reaching millions throughout the world, millions of despairing men, women, and little children, victims of a system that makes men torture and imprison innocent people.

To those who can hear me, I say: 'Do not despair.' The misery that is now upon us is but the passing of greed, the bitterness of men who fear the way of human progress. The hate of men will pass, and dictators die, and the power they took from the people will return to the people. And so long as men die, liberty will never perish.

Soldiers! Don't give yourselves to brutes. Men who despise you, enslave you, who regiment your lives, tell you what to do, what to think and what to feel! Who drill you, diet you, treat you like cattle, use you as cannon fodder! Don't give yourselves to these unnatural men - machine men with machine minds and machine hearts! You are not machines! You are not cattle! You are men! You have the love of humanity in your hearts! You don't hate! Only the unloved hate, the unloved and the unnatural. Soldiers! Don't fight for slavery! Fight for liberty!

In the seventeenth chapter of St. Luke [Verse 21], it is written - the kingdom of God is within man, not one man nor a group of men, but in all men! In you! You, the people, have the power, the power to create machines, the power to create happiness! You, the people, have the power to make this life free and beautiful, to make this life a wonderful adventure. Then in the name of democracy, let us use that power. Let us all unite. Let us fight for a new world, a decent world that will give men a chance to work, that will give youth a future and old age a security.

By the promise of these things, brutes have risen to power. But they lie! They do not fulfill their promise. They never will! Dictators free themselves but they enslave the people! Now let us fight to fulfill that promise! Let us fight to free the world! To do away with national barriers! To do away with greed, with hate and intolerance! Let us fight for a world of reason, a world where science and progress will lead to all men's happiness. Soldiers, in the name of democracy, let us all unite! (Cheers from the assembled masses)

Hannah, can you hear me? Wherever you are, look up, Hannah! The clouds are lifting! The sun is breaking through! We are coming out of the darkness into the light! We are coming into a new world, a kindlier world, where men will rise above their hate, their greed and brutality. Look up, Hannah! The soul of man has been given wings and at last he is beginning to fly. He is flying into the rainbow! Into the light of hope! Into the future, the glorious future that belongs to you, to me, and to all of us. Look up, Hannah! Look up!

Now among the impoverished and persecuted, Hannah - with tears in her eyes, was listening to the speech's optimistic concluding words on a loudspeaker that were directed specifically to her. She was still on the ground next to a vineyard after being beaten by a brutish Tomainian soldier. As she rose up, Mr. Jaeckel asked her: "Hannah, did you hear that?" Standing up, she silenced him with a gesture from her extended right arm before responding: "Listen..."

The film crescendo-ed with the image of Hannah's tear-streaked face outlined against the sky (with the sunlight breaking through). She turned her face, joyously and hopefully facing her dictator-free future and a radiant better world. There was a final fade-out to black.

[Note: The film ended without its obvious next phase or step - what would be the fate of both Schultz and the barber, once their charade was revealed?]

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