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The Great Dictator
SUBJECTS — Biography/Hitler; World/WW II.
Age: 10+; Satire; 1941; 126 minutes; B & W.
This film is Charlie Chaplin's spoof of Hitler, Mussolini and Hitler's henchmen. The movie was made in 1941, before the U.S. entered the war and before most people knew about the Holocaust. It contains one of the most memorable and funny scenes ever filmed.
The TeachWithMovies.com Learning Guide will show teachers how to use this film to supplement courses on the Second World War. It provides information concerning each of the war criminals ridiculed in the movie. The Great Dictator will inject humor into course work.
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Chaplin portrays Hitler as The Great Dictator. This is history made hilarious.
Learning Guide Excerpt
To demonstrate how our Learning Guides can be used by teachers to improve lesson plans, we have set out below the first two sections from the Learning Guide to The Great Dictator.
Description: "The best Chaplin movie ever!" said a ten-year-old World War II history buff. The names indicate the fun in store for anyone who sees this film:
Tomania (as in ptomaine poisoning) = Nazi Germany
Adenoid Hynkel ("Heil Hynkel") = Hitler
Bacteria = Fascist Italy
Benzino Napaloni = Mussolini
Garbitsch (pronounced "garbage") = Göebbels
Herring = Göring
The sign of the "double cross" = Swastika
Chaplin plays Hynkel, a dictator with a "Charlie Chaplin moustache" who looks and acts like Hitler. Chaplin also plays a Jewish barber who was a hero in the "Tomanian" Army during the previous war (World War I) and who looks exactly like Hynkel.
This movie is a farce but the last speech is quite serious.
The humor in this film will be appreciated most by children who have a basic understanding of World War II and of the threat to Western Civilization posed by Hitler, Mussolini, Göebbels, and Göring.
Benefits: This movie makes history hilarious. It will confirm the understanding of the events leading up to WW II for those children who already have a background in the history of that time. The film also contains sequences of great humor and poetry. The scene with Hitler and the globe is one of the most memorable on film. The Great Dictator will provide an opportunity for parents or teachers to explain many of the events leading up to World War II and the personalities of the men who started the war.
The Learning Guide to the film The Great Dictator contains sections on Benefits of the Movie, Possible Problems, Helpful Background, Discussion Questions, Links to the Internet, and Bridges to Reading. The Discussion Questions are divided into three categories: Subject Matter, Social-Emotional Learning, and Moral-Ethical Emphasis.
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