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Author Topic: The Great Dictator - Chaplin RBC films Super 8 feature
Osi Osgood
Film God

Posts: 9589
From: #399R K.O.A. Mountian Home, ID. 83647
Registered: Jul 2005


 - posted April 06, 2018 11:09 AM      Profile for Osi Osgood   Author's Homepage   Email Osi Osgood   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
It is this author’s sadness that the great Charles Chaplin is not better known.

Even his great silent comedies aren’t nearly as well known or appreciated today as they were 30 or so years ago, where, at one time, his very name was synonymous with silent cinema.

As a general rule, his sound films are even lesser known.

Chaplin, having made such memorable films as “City lights” and “Modern Times” then made his absolute best fully sound feature film ever, (in this author’s opinion) … "The Great Dictator” (his earlier sound era features were part sound/part silent)

Although not generally considered one of his “little Tramp” films, this is the last time he would play on screen, his tramp character with just a slight alteration in that his character is portrayed as a “barber”, (though his “tramp” outfit is unmistakable). Chaplin, however, did the daring move of playing two roles in the same film, which was largely uncommon as of this time in film history.

He also played a thinly disguised Adoph Hitler. Though not called “Hitler” or “Adolph”, his “Adenoid Hynkel” character is Adolph, (in later years, Chaplin would state that if he had known what was actually going on in Germany with the Holocaust, he could have never played such a character).

The Jewish barber is injured during World War 1 and stricken with amnesia. He returns to his barbershop to find that he has actually been gone for many years, (shown by his barbershop being largely one big spiderweb).

In the meantime, a new regime has developed (the third Reich, though not specifically called such), that is anti-jewish, as Hynkel blames the jews for everything going wrong in his regime.

The jewish barber is falling in love with a neighbors daughter, (his real life wife, Paulette Goddard), but all this is put on hold as things get tougher for the barber and his people and they begin an underground movement of resistance to Hynkel and his regime. In the end the barber looks so much like Hynkel, that the barber is substituted for hynkel, (and Hynkel is commited to an asylum for acting like he is the leader), and, upon the "Toemainians" being ready to invade nearby Poland, the barber gets up to address his “followers” and gives one of the best speeches for democracy and human decency ever stated on screen.

THE END

What is related above is a mere microchasm of everything that takes place in this film. Chaplin does an incredible job of playing this meglo-maniac Adenoid Hynkel to the hilt and is ably helped along by an incredible cast, most notably by Jack Oakie as the leader of the nearby "Italian" state of “Bacteria” (who is as arrogant as Hynkel), Billy Gilbert plays the head of the “S.S’ and developer of inventions that don’t work and most especially the underrated Henry Daniell (who played "Professor Moriarity" most memorablyin the Sherlock Holmes films), who plays a very evil, smarmy “second in command” to Hynkel.

There are countless classic scenes, the barber doing a shave and a haircut to the Hungarian Rhapsody, the back and forth battle between the equally arrogant leaders of Toemania and Bacteria, escalating to grand finale in a dinner party, and a separate “suicide” dessert sequence with the barber and his patriot friends, (the one who gets the "coin' in his pudding will go on the suicide mission).

Only once in awhile does the film get slightly melodramatic or preachy, but there is so much incredible comedy and drama to this film, (especially given how closely it resembles Hitlers germany) that it is equally hilarious as well as chilling, a feat incredibly hard to achieve.

Now, onto this very neat print …

“RBC” films lucked into making a contract with the Chaplin estate to release a great number of Chaplins great sound films, AND from Chaplin’s own archives. These were never meant to be privately owned, but were part of a licensed library, which was to end either in October 1991 or when the actual prints were either worn out or destroyed, (as it states right before the countdown leader)

What this meant was an incredible image quality that was both quite sharp for a super 8 black and white print as well as not suffering from bad grey tones and grain from many dupes down from the first generation negatives. It is a real pleasure to watch.

I honestly do not know as to how this was able to enter into private film collectors hands, but I lucked out recently in buying a print of this off of ebay and I am quite pleased to have welcomed this rare print into my collection. If you happen to run across a print of tjhis, don’t wait too long to grab it!

… and, as always, LONG LIVE SUPER 8!!!!!

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"All these moments will be lost in time, just like ... tears, in the rain. "

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Robert Crewdson
Jedi Master Film Handler

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From: UK
Registered: Jun 2013


 - posted April 06, 2018 03:54 PM      Profile for Robert Crewdson     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I think it's sad that while he was in England for the premier of Limelight, the US took away his citizenship.

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William Olson
Master Film Handler

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From: Poughkeepsie, NY USA
Registered: Jun 2010


 - posted April 06, 2018 04:01 PM      Profile for William Olson   Email William Olson   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I agree about this Chaplin film. Fortunately for the uninitiated, it shows up on Turner Classic movies from time to time. Regarding your print, I remember Blackhawk Films offering these licensed prints. The whole landscape of the home movie business was dramatically changed with the advent of the VCR and subsequent home video formats. I suspect the licenses for these prints fell by the wayside. All the better for film collectors like us.

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Douglas Meltzer
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From: New York, NY, USA
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 - posted April 06, 2018 05:57 PM      Profile for Douglas Meltzer   Email Douglas Meltzer   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
An absolutely brilliant film!

Robert,

His citizenship was never taken away, since although he lived in the U.S. for 4 decades, Chaplin chose not to become an American citizen.

For those who may not know, during the paranoia of the McCarthy Era the U.S. would not let Chaplin re-enter the country because he was suspected of being a Communist sympathizer. He didn't return till 1972 to accept his honorary Academy Award.

Doug

[ April 06, 2018, 10:22 PM: Message edited by: Douglas Meltzer ]

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I think there's room for just one more film.....

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Robert Crewdson
Jedi Master Film Handler

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From: UK
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 - posted April 07, 2018 03:44 AM      Profile for Robert Crewdson     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Thank you Doug; I did read that he couldn't re-enter the country; this happened while he was in London for the Premiere of his film.

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Oliver F. R. Feld
Master Film Handler

Posts: 347
From: Berlin, Germany
Registered: Jan 2010


 - posted April 07, 2018 07:44 AM      Profile for Oliver F. R. Feld   Email Oliver F. R. Feld   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I own the full feature of this timeless masterpiece in its original 7 boxes from PICCOLO FILM (Edition Atlas). The print is breathtakingly sharp.
Is RBC involved in this?

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Terry Sills
Phenomenal Film Handler

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From: Weymouth,Dorset,England
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 - posted April 07, 2018 10:37 AM      Profile for Terry Sills   Email Terry Sills   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
If the film 'Chaplin' is a true account, it would seem that he got on the wrong side of Hoover, who amassed a huge dossier on Chaplin and used it to have him banned from re entry to the States. It portrays Hoover and his cronies as a nasty vindictive department bent on destroying anyone with 'communist' views whereas Chaplin described himself not a communist but a Humanist. Because of his very humble beginnings he was always on the side of the downtrodden working classes.

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Osi Osgood
Film God

Posts: 9589
From: #399R K.O.A. Mountian Home, ID. 83647
Registered: Jul 2005


 - posted April 07, 2018 11:10 AM      Profile for Osi Osgood   Author's Homepage   Email Osi Osgood   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Oliver ...

I have been getting some very interesting info here!

If you have you're original full leader on you're print, could you please look at the early portion of it, around the beginning of the countdown? On the official "RBC" prints, there is a long statement, printed rather small but thankfully, very legible, that states RBC's rights to have this licensed and when the license expires.

i don't know if Piccolo had any official rights to this film or if the other company mentioned in the UK had any proper rights, but I do know that RBC did acquire the rights from the Chaplin estate. Could you look at you're Piccolo print at the beginning leader and see if it has that RBC license on it?

Not too surprising that Blackhawk offered these prints as well, as many companies, (as super 8 was dwindling in popularity), would acquire the existing prints (no doubt, at bargain prices), and then sell them. Derann got a lot of prints from other companies, most memorably, from Red Fox films.

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"All these moments will be lost in time, just like ... tears, in the rain. "

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Oliver F. R. Feld
Master Film Handler

Posts: 347
From: Berlin, Germany
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 - posted April 07, 2018 12:26 PM      Profile for Oliver F. R. Feld   Email Oliver F. R. Feld   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Osi,

all leaders are original and intact but there is nothing on the material that says RBC.
„Edition Atlas“/piccolo film did some very good full features on Super-8.
The funny thing about the leaders is: I can read DER GROSS DITTATOR which seems to be a mix of german and italian - and every reel is called „Rullo“.

The cover says „Complete and authorized by Chaplin“/Licensed with certificate until 31.8.1986“

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Phil Murat
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 544
From: Villeneuve St Georges, France
Registered: Dec 2015


 - posted April 08, 2018 01:34 AM      Profile for Phil Murat   Email Phil Murat   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Hi Osi,
Dictatore and Many others Chaplin features were producted on S8 by LGFC (on Paris) at the end of the 80’s. They were all légal off course as they manage a package for 35mm distributing to public theaters.
Dictator and others were printed on color poly stock from excellent négatives .
Just after this project, LGFC closed down S8 activity......

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Oliver F. R. Feld
Master Film Handler

Posts: 347
From: Berlin, Germany
Registered: Jan 2010


 - posted April 08, 2018 02:30 AM      Profile for Oliver F. R. Feld   Email Oliver F. R. Feld   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Fascinating Super-8-history ...

I‘m waiting for a book!
Someone should collect all these facts

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William Olson
Master Film Handler

Posts: 263
From: Poughkeepsie, NY USA
Registered: Jun 2010


 - posted April 08, 2018 09:45 AM      Profile for William Olson   Email William Olson   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Blackhawk marketed the Chaplin features as offered through consumer licensing from the Roy Export Company.

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Panayotis A. Carayannis
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 901
From: Athens,Greece
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 - posted April 09, 2018 09:38 AM      Profile for Panayotis A. Carayannis   Email Panayotis A. Carayannis   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Well,the license was a little..... I mean everybody could have said that their copy was worn or destroyed.Did the various companies offering the films keep lists of the customers who bought them and forwarded those lists ro RBC or Roy Export? I don't think so! Also let's remember that the films sold at prices considerably higher than the average for all other films from other companies. So,those who bought them,kept them close and only after the demise of 8mm did they resurface on the second hand market,again at prices considerably higher than the average. Personally,so far I have only managed to buy the "lesser" A KING IN NEW YORK at a price I concidered "reasonable" and two or three shorts.
It is a case equal to Blackhawk of not selling the Hal Roach titles outside the US, but ALL of us DID buy them from other companies that were selling Blackhawk films!!

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Osi Osgood
Film God

Posts: 9589
From: #399R K.O.A. Mountian Home, ID. 83647
Registered: Jul 2005


 - posted April 09, 2018 10:59 AM      Profile for Osi Osgood   Author's Homepage   Email Osi Osgood   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
... or buying "bootleg" copies of Blackhawk releases! I remember seeing a very poor copy of "Desperate Scoundrel" from Niles, where the Blackhawk release was quite good.

I'm just theorizing, but I'm betting that, while RBC films may have had the "U.S." contract ... perhaps Piccolo had the rights form printing and distribution for Italy? (and maybe a U.K. company had rights given to them as well?).

One thing is for sure, yes, the image quality on this RBC print is truly fantastic, and it is on actual black ans white film stock, (which I certainly prefer personally, over black and white printed on color stock).

I also lucked out recently on a print of "The Circus', which I think I'll do a review of, (unless someone beats me at it).

It's rather nice as it is scored and in fact has, during the credits, Chaplin singing the theme song!

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"All these moments will be lost in time, just like ... tears, in the rain. "

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Panayotis A. Carayannis
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From: Athens,Greece
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 - posted April 09, 2018 12:34 PM      Profile for Panayotis A. Carayannis   Email Panayotis A. Carayannis   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
.... Entertainment and Atlas in America, Collectors' Club in England and dozens of others everywhere...

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Osi Osgood
Film God

Posts: 9589
From: #399R K.O.A. Mountian Home, ID. 83647
Registered: Jul 2005


 - posted April 09, 2018 01:01 PM      Profile for Osi Osgood   Author's Homepage   Email Osi Osgood   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
It would be interesting, however, as to how many of these companies were selling prints that they personally had struck, or were moving on another super 8 companies "un-wanted" stock?

Sadly, I am not the best person at taking screenshots, but I think a neat way to end this series of posts on this review, would be to show the different prints from assorted sources and how they measure up, one against another?

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"All these moments will be lost in time, just like ... tears, in the rain. "

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William Olson
Master Film Handler

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From: Poughkeepsie, NY USA
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 - posted April 09, 2018 03:28 PM      Profile for William Olson   Email William Olson   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Panayotis, I always thought the leasing agreement with the Chaplin features was laughable.

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Ali Hipperson
Film Handler

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From: London, England
Registered: Oct 2016


 - posted April 10, 2018 06:44 AM      Profile for Ali Hipperson   Email Ali Hipperson   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Hi Osi - I'm a big Chaplin fan and collector and am constantly on the look-out for any RBC Chaplin features.

Did you see that there was a 16mm copy of City Lights (which ended last Sunday) listed on eBay by an American seller?

I upped my maximum bid to $600 two hours before the bidding closed and immediately my bid was trumped by ten bucks. In the end the film went for that last bid of $610. Obviously the lucky winner had a much higher bid-limit than I did - I wonder just how high that limit would have been??

But of course - we will never know!

Ali.

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We're going to need a bigger shelf!

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Osi Osgood
Film God

Posts: 9589
From: #399R K.O.A. Mountian Home, ID. 83647
Registered: Jul 2005


 - posted April 10, 2018 11:12 AM      Profile for Osi Osgood   Author's Homepage   Email Osi Osgood   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
or ... someone was jacking up they're own price and then within a few days, you might get a "second chance" offer on it. [Roll Eyes]

... however, best of luck in getting this title, super 8 OR 16MM! [Smile]

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"All these moments will be lost in time, just like ... tears, in the rain. "

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Ali Hipperson
Film Handler

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From: London, England
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 - posted April 11, 2018 06:55 AM      Profile for Ali Hipperson   Email Ali Hipperson   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Yes Osi, possibly.

However, in my experience when that has happened then the seller normally makes-up some fake excuse as to why the 'phantom' buyer can't proceed with the purchase and then offers it to the next highest bidder - which in this case would be me.

But I haven't been contacted - just shows you the 'possible' current, if rather inflated, price of one of the truly great films ever made!

Ali.

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We're going to need a bigger shelf!

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Osi Osgood
Film God

Posts: 9589
From: #399R K.O.A. Mountian Home, ID. 83647
Registered: Jul 2005


 - posted April 11, 2018 11:25 AM      Profile for Osi Osgood   Author's Homepage   Email Osi Osgood   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
ladies and Gentlemen, for you're viewing pleasure, "The Great Dictator ... in COLOR ...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rNQsaNVPRio

OK, this is actual behind the scene footage shot during the making of the film, but being that this film was made in black and white, it's interesting seeing what the original "color" scheme of the outfits and such for the film. For instance, I never knew that the pants for Hynkels solgers was red, and you get to see all the lovely colors of the dresses and such for the dance sequence!

Enjoy! [Smile]

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"All these moments will be lost in time, just like ... tears, in the rain. "

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Panayotis A. Carayannis
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 901
From: Athens,Greece
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 - posted May 03, 2018 10:25 AM      Profile for Panayotis A. Carayannis   Email Panayotis A. Carayannis   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
This color footage,now withdrawn from youtube,was shot by brother Sydney Chaplin.

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Osi Osgood
Film God

Posts: 9589
From: #399R K.O.A. Mountian Home, ID. 83647
Registered: Jul 2005


 - posted May 05, 2018 11:15 AM      Profile for Osi Osgood   Author's Homepage   Email Osi Osgood   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
You can find it elsewhere as well, I figured that it would be shot by family, but I didn't know. Quite a find, though! [Smile]

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"All these moments will be lost in time, just like ... tears, in the rain. "

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Panayotis A. Carayannis
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 901
From: Athens,Greece
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 - posted May 06, 2018 12:31 AM      Profile for Panayotis A. Carayannis   Email Panayotis A. Carayannis   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
This,was found after The Unknown Chaplin was made and was featured in a later Chaplin documentary,the title of which escapes me right now!

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Paul Mason
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From: Aldershot, Hampshire, UK
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 - posted May 13, 2018 02:33 PM      Profile for Paul Mason     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I think this is "The Tramp and the Dictator" directed by Kevin Brownlow and Michael Kloft in 2001.

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Paul.

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