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The Great Dictator

Chaplin acts the roles of Hitler (alias Adenoid Hynkel) and a Jewish barber who returns as an amnesiac, decades after an accident in World War I, totally unaware of the rise of Nazism and the persecution of his people. The representation of Hitler is vaudeville goonery all the way, but minus the acid wit and inventive energy that Groucho Marx managed in his impersonation of authoritarianism gone berserk in Duck Soup. Mr Nobody is eventually carted away to a concentration camp, which leads to a reversal of roles when the barber escapes and is mistaken for Hynkel on the eve of the invasion of Austria. Cue for an impassioned speech about freedom and democracy calculated to jerk tears out of the surliest fascist, in a manner startlingly similar to Hitler's very own delivery.

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