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New York Times, New York, February 26, 1939.

Charles Chaplin, Douglas Fairbanks Sr. and Jr. at the

racetrack, Los Angeles, March 6, 1939

& Charlie Chaplin and Walt Disney at the racetrack,

Los Angeles, March 6, 1939

& Murray Silverstone

(...) Photo, Motion Picture Herald, Aug. 28, 1937, detail

& Chaplin Film Will Start by March 15.

      Hollywood, Feb. 6 – Charlie Chaplin has completed the script

for his forthcoming film, The Dictators, according to Murray

Silverstone, head of United Artists operations. Production will

start before March 15 and early fall release is planned.

      „The story is, naturally, concerned with dictators,

but its primary purpose is to make people laugh,“ Chaplin

told Silverstone. The film will open the fall season

for U. A., Silverstone declared.

(...) Motion Picture Daily, Feb. 7, 1939


      The Charles Chaplin production of a film to be called

„The Dictator“ should answer the question whether

the comic genius of the silent films has weathered or withered

since talking pictures extinguished his own medium.

Charles, it is said, is to talk in his new picture. Harpo Marx

will be the only silent figure on the screen

unless we think of Charley McCarthy for what he really is.

      Herr Hitler is to be Chaplin‘s hero and the people

may be able to discover whether art is imitating life or life

is imitating art. It hasn‘t seemed reasonable that der

Fuehrer deliberately set himself, when he was on the road

to power, to be as much like Chaplin as he could,

at least in appearance, but without intention he achieved

the effect. Chaplin may have resented it. His prior

rights were well established. He was known to the world when

Adolf was a morose, obscure, and disappointing

young man in Vienna and Munich, suffering from the

frustration of all his ambitions and wondering

how he could get even with the world against which he was

developing a grudge.

      When Adolf adopted the Chaplin mustache or when

he merely permitted it to grow he was putting

a great strain upon Mr. Chaplin‘s self-control and and should

have been aware of it. When, furthermore, he allowed

something of the Chaplin strut to get into his gait he was

simply asking for what Mr. Chaplin now proposes

to do. It has been reported that Chaplin has been advised

that his project is full of explosives and that the

international situation distinctly will not be improved

if he does his best with the Nazi leader and

if his best in the talking pictures should be as good as it was

in the silent. This may be the supreme insult.

(...) Chicago Tribune, Feb. 7, 1939

A Story of a Little Fish in a Shark-Infested World“

Editorial content. „ADVANCE NOTES


      EXCEPT for the general speculation as to how Gone

With the Wind is going to turn out, no picture in years

has been anticipated with such curiosity and hope as is Charlie

Chaplin‘s next one, which you know, of course, will

be The Dictators. Everybody is wondering furiously what

it will be about – other than You - Know- Who and

You - Know - What in a general sort of way. This department‘s

Mr. Nugent brought back the latest word from Hollywood

a couple of weeks ago, to wit: The locale will be an unidentified

country which has a dictator, Charlie will play a little

tramp who is mistaken for Mr. Big and the language (or what

is used) will have a solid Teutonic thump. But the details

of the story are still cloistered behind sealed lips.

      However, this much more in the nature of a suspiciously

pertinent clue has been revealed within the past

week – and you can take it for what it is worth: there is extant

a dramatic composition in five acts and an epilogue

written by one Charles Spencer Chaplin of Great Britain,

domiciled in Los Angeles, Calif., and entitled The

Dictator. This piece of dramatic literature is subtitled A Story

of a Little Fish in a Shark-Infested World and has

to do with the adventures of a bewildered little man named


      The story opens with a farcical battle scene during the War

of 1912 between the mythical forces of Ptomania

and the Alliars. Charlie is the sole survivor of his company

in that engagement and, after the armistice, returns

to Ptom, capital of Ptomania. While trying to catch a little

sleep in a perfectly respectable flop-house, he is

rudely disturbed by storm troopers, who are whipping up the

populace to the support of one Hinkle, the dictator.

      Terrified, Charlie seeks refuge with other veterans

in a kosher restaurant where the proprietor hands

out free food until the place is wrecked by storm troopers.

Then Charlie is on the move again, until he lands

in a concentration camp. In the company of two new friends,

however, he escapes and makes a frantic dash for

the border. But there fate intervenes. It seems that Hinkle,

the dictator, has been visiting another such who

goes by the name of Mussemup, and is on his way home

at the same time that Charlie is trying to get away.

The honor guard at the boarder mistakes Charlie for Hinkle –

which is plausible because they bear a striking


      Anyhow, the dumfounded Charlie is borne off in state

to Vanilla, the capital of Ostrich, and Hinkle, arriving

at the boarder, is arrested as an impostor. Eventually Charlie

makes a speech which convinces his honor guard

that he has gone batty, but which throws the people of

Vanilla into a frenzy of joy.

      The end comes when Charlie wakes up to find himself

still a prisoner in the concentration camp.

      And that is today‘s report on the dramatic composition

entitled The Dictator. Let him who runs read and make something

of it, if he chooses.“


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