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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

(aka " The Dictator ")

http://www.dvdbeaver.com/film/direct-chair/chaplin.htm
U.S.A.  1940

In his controverisal masterpiece The Great Dictator, Charlie Chaplin offers both a cutting caricature of Adolf Hitler and a sly tweaking of his own comic persona. Chaplin, in his first pure talkie, brings his sublime physicality to two roles: the cruel yet clownish “Tomainian” dictator and the kindly Jewish barber who is mistaken for him. Featuring Jack Oakie and Paulette Goddard in stellar supporting turns, The Great Dictator, boldly going after the fascist leader before the U.S.’s official entry into World War II, is an audacious amalgam of politics and slapstick that culminates in Chaplin’s famously impassioned speech.

 

***

 

Charlie Chaplin's "The Great Dictator" (1940) came some 12 years after the introduction of sound, but it was Chaplin's first all-talking picture, and the first in which we heard the Little Tramp speak. The dialog turned out to be his last words; Chaplin never used the Tramp character again after this film.

In a way, the Tramp's heartfelt closing plea for peace and human brotherhood is spoken by Chaplin himself, stepping out of character to make a personal statement on the eve of the war with Hitler. The speech does not fit into the fabric of the rest of the film (as many critics noted at the time), but the passage of years has made it seem uncannily appropriate.

Chaplin conceived and filmed "The Great Dictator" during a period when an accommodation with Hitler was still thought possible in some quarters; indeed, he must have been filming when Neville Chamberlain went to Munich. But Chaplin himself had no such optimism, and his portrait of Adenoid Hynkel, dictator of Tomania, was among the first declarations of war on Hitler. The film also prophesied the persecution of the Jews, and the scenes of storm troopers terrorizing the Ghetto were thought at the time to go too far. What a sad joke that seems today.

Excerpt from Roger Ebert's review at The Chicago Sun Times located HERE

Posters

Theatrical Release: October 15th, 1940 - USA

Reviews     More Reviews     DVD Reviews

Comparison:

Warner - Region 2 - PAL vs. Image - Region 0 - NTSC (oop) vs. Warner Home Video - Region 1 - NTSC vs. Kinowelt - Region 'B' - Blu-ray vs. Criterion Region 'A' - Blu-ray

Thanks to Ole of DVDBasen for the Region 2 PAL DVD captures!

1) Warner - Region 2 - PAL - LEFT

2) Image Entertainment - Region 0 - NTSC  - SECOND

3) Warner - Region 1 - NTSC - THIRD

4) Kinowelt - Region B - Blu-ray - FOURTH

5) Criterion - Region 'A'- Blu-ray- RIGHT

 

DVD Box Covers

 

 

Duplicate transfer in the UK:

Distribution Warner
Region 2 - PAL

Image Entertainment

Region 0  - NTSC

Warner
Region 1 - NTSC

Kinowelt

Region 'B' - Blu-ray

Criterion Collection, Spine #565 - Region 'A' - Blu-ray
Runtime 1:59:44 ( 4% PAL Speedup) 2:05:04 1:59:40 (4% PAL speedup) 2:05:15.508 2:05:35.569
Video 1.33:1  Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 6.52 mb/s
PAL 720X 25.00 f/s

1.28:1  Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 5.68 mb/s
NTSC 704x480 29.97 f/s

1.33:1  Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 6.66 mb/s
NTSC 704x480 29.97 f/s

Disc Size: 36,191,678,194 bytes

Feature Size: 27,222,417,408 bytes

Average Bitrate: 23.99 Mbps

Dual-layered Blu-ray MPEG-4 AVC Video 1080P

Disc Size: 47,283,882,269 bytes

Feature Size: 28,217,505,792 bytes

Average Bitrate: 25.99 Mbps

Dual-layered Blu-ray MPEG-4 AVC Video 1080P

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate:

 Warner Region2

 

Bitrate:

 Image

 

Bitrate:

Warner

Bitrate: European

Blu-ray

Bitrate: Criterion

Blu-ray

Audio English (Dolby Digital 5.1), English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono), French (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono), Italian (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono) English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)

English (Dolby Digital 5.1), English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono), French (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono), Spanish (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)

DTS-HD Master Audio English 1635 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1635 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)
DTS-HD Master Audio German 1617 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1617 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)
LPCM Audio English 1152 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 1152 kbps / 24-bit
Commentary: Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps
Subtitles English, Spanish, French, Italian, Portuguese, German, Dutch, Arabic, Bulgarian, Romanian, English for the hearing impaired, French for the hearing impaired, Italian for the hearing impaired and none - Extras is subtitled in: English, Spanish, French, Italian, Russian, German, Dutch and none English, French and none English, Spanish, French, Korean, Portuguese, Thai and none German, none English, none
Features Release Information:
Studio: Warner Home Video

Aspect Ratio:
Full Screen (Standard) - 1.33:1
 

Edition Details:
• Black & White, Dolby
• All-new restoration with digital transfer from the Chaplin family vault and remastered
The Tramp and the Dictator: documentary directed by Kevin Brownlow and Michael Kloft
The Production Filmed in Color by Sydney Chaplin (1939/40)
• Gallery of film posters
• A seven-minute sequence shot in 1918 for Sunnyside that inspired the famous barber scene in The Great Dictator
• A scene from Monsieur Verdoux
• Trailers

The same as Warner R1, but if you buy the Chaplin Collection Volume One you get an extra disc that's not with the R1 Box: Charlie: The Life and Art of Charles Chaplin - A film by Richard Schickel (2:06:39).

DVD Release Date: September 22nd, 2003
Custom Case

Chapters 20

Release Information:
Studio: Image Entertainment

Aspect Ratio:
Full Screen (Standard) - 1.28:1

Edition Details:
• All Regions
• Black & White
• Production notes
• A seven-minute sequence shot in 1918 for Sunnyside that inspired the famous barber scene in The Great Dictator
• A 1933 Fox MovieTone newsreel about Adolf Hitler
• Original story notes, drafts of scripts and production records documenting
• Chaplin's work on Sequence "X"--the Final Speech
 

DVD Release Date: April 11th, 2000
Snapper Case

Chapters 17

Release Information:
Studio: Warner Home Video

Aspect Ratio:
Full Screen (Standard) - 1.33:1
 

Edition Details:
• Black & White, Dolby
• All-new restoration with digital transfer from the Chaplin family vault and remastered
The Tramp and the Dictator: documentary directed by Kevin Brownlow and Michael Kloft
The Production Filmed in Color by Sydney Chaplin (1939/40)
• Gallery of film posters
• A seven-minute sequence shot in 1918 for Sunnyside that inspired the famous barber scene in The Great Dictator
• A scene from Monsieur Verdoux
• Trailers

DVD Release Date: July 1, 2003
Custom Case

Chapters 20

Release Information:
Studio:
Kinowelt

 

Disc Size: 36,191,678,194 bytes

Feature Size: 27,222,417,408 bytes

Average Bitrate: 23.99 Mbps

Dual-layered Blu-ray MPEG-4 AVC Video 1080P

 

Edition Details:
• 
"Chaplin heute - Der große Diktator" - Dokumentation von Serge Toubiana unter Mitwirkung de Regisseurs Constantin Costa-Gavras (26:16)
• Chaplin ABC (30:01)
• Sydney Chaplins 'Making of' in Farbe (25:46)
• "Charlie als Friseur" (1919 - 7:30)
• 2 Fotogalerie
• Trailer

 

Blu-ray Release Date: May 6th, 2010
Custom Blu-ray Case

Chapters 12

Release Information:
Studio:
Criterion

 

Disc Size: 47,283,882,269 bytes

Feature Size: 28,217,505,792 bytes

Average Bitrate: 25.99 Mbps

Dual-layered Blu-ray MPEG-4 AVC Video 1080P

 

Edition Details:
• New audio commentary by Charlie Chaplin experts Dan Kamin and Hooman Mehran
The Tramp and the Dictator (2001), Kevin Brownlow and Michael Kloft’s documentary paralleling the lives of Chaplin and Hitler, including interviews with author Ray Bradbury, director Sidney Lumet, screenwriter Budd Schulberg, and others (55:00)

• New visual essay by Chaplin archivist Cecilia Cenciarelli entitled Chaplin's Napoleon and the Great Dictator (19:12)
• Second visual essay by Chaplin biographer Jeffrey Vance; The Clowns Turn to Prophet (20:54)
• Color production footage shot by Chaplin’s half-brother Sydney (26:52)
• Barbershop sequence from Sydney Chaplin’s 1921 film King, Queen, Joker (4:54)
• Deleted barbershop sequence from Chaplin’s 1919 film Sunnyside (7:50)
• Re-release trailer (2:01)
• 30-page liner notes booklet featuring an essay by film critic Michael Wood, Chaplin’s 1940 New York Times defense of his movie, a reprint from critic Jean Narboni on the film’s final speech, and Al Hirschfeld’s original press book illustrations

 

Blu-ray Release Date: May 23rd, 2011
transparent Blu-ray Case

Chapters 20

 

Comments:

NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

ADDITION: Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - May 11': The new Criterion Blu-ray has a slight technical advantage visually but I can't say I see much difference from between the two 1080P releases. Criterion has s lightly higher file size and bitrate but the contrast level and detail are almost impossible to distinguish differences in the appearances. Both are very strong - especially as compared to the DVDs.

Criterion opt for a clean linear PCM mono track at 1152 kbps. Again, I couldn't hear any notable differences from the similarly uncompressed DTS-HD of the European Blu-ray. The Criterion does offer optional English subtitles on their region 'A'-locked disc.

Criterion really load up the extras starting with a new, 2011, audio commentary by Charlie Chaplin experts - performer and author Dan Kamin and silent film historian Hooman Mehran. Excellent uncovering many historical information about the making of The Great Dictator and Chaplin the man himself. A wonderful piece is the 2001 documentary by Kevin Brownlow and Michael Kloft’s paralleling the lives of Chaplin and Hitler - from their births the same week to start of production on The Great Dictator a week after Hitler invaded Poland. It is aptly entitled The Tramp and the Dictator and includes interviews with author ray Bradbury, artist Al Hirschfeld, film critic Stanley Kaufman, director Sidney Lumet, historian Arthur Schlesinger Jr. and screenwriter Budd Schulberg, among others. There is a new visual essay by Chaplin archivist Cecilia Cenciarelli entitled Chaplin's Napoleon and the Great Dictator running just shy of 20-minutes. A second visual essay by Chaplin biographer Jeffrey Vance runs the same length and is entitled The Clowns Turn to Prophet. Included is 25-minutes of color production footage shot by Chaplin’s half-brother Sydney, the Barbershop sequence from Sydney Chaplin’s 1921 film King, Queen, Joker running 5 minutes and it was obvious it had a direct influence on the similar scenes in The Great Dictator. We get the 7.5 minute deleted barbershop sequence from Chaplin’s 1919 film Sunnyside and the re-release trailer (2:01) - all in HD. In the package is a 30-page liner notes booklet featuring an essay by film critic Michael Wood, Chaplin’s 1940 New York Times defense of his movie, a reprint from critic Jean Narboni on the film’s final speech, and Al Hirschfeld’s original press book illustrations.

If there is any debate between the two Blu-rays - the Criterion vaults ahead with its vast supplements including the excellent commentary and liner notes booklet. For Chaplin fans this is a no-brainer and Criterion have risen to the occasion with a fabulous package. Strongly recommended!

***

ADDITION: Kinowelt - Region 'B' Blu-ray - April 2010: I think this fares better than City Lights on Blu-ray and about the same as Modern Times in 1080P from Kinowelt. It seems moderately cropped on the side and top edges and frame specific damage marks are unique indicating a different, or restored, source. It ends up being significantly more detailed with better grading of the contrast. Grain is a little blocky but I don't know much more that could have been done. It really looks superior to any other home presentation I've ever seen. It is far from perfect with some green infiltration later in the film and some sequences remain soft but I believe this may be due to the original production limitations ('can't make a silk purse....').

I suspect this will be the exact same transfer as the Park Circus release in UK coming out the same week, HERE.

Audio is lossless, 2.0 channel mono and sounds better than I have heard before - there is an optional German DUB and subtitles. It is expectantly flatter than many may be used to but dialogue is very crisp and clear - as is the minor score by Chaplin and Meredith Willson.  My Momitsu has identified it is being Region 'B'-locked.

Extras include the 25-minute Sydney Chaplin's The Production Filmed in Color as found on the Warner discs, the Chaplin ABC, a French documentary with German subtitles and a 1919 silent short - Charlie the Barber.

Again, I'm reasonably happy with the appearance and audio and suspect the subsequent packages will be of the same quality. Stay tuned.

****

ON THE DVDs:

UPDATE: October 9th - Warner Region 2 DVD added: Well, in short the image on the Warner Region 2 is the best. There is no "ghosting" as in the Warner Region 1's. I would like to point out that I, personally, wouldn't trade in the Image Entertainment discs for the Warner Region 2's. I am happy with the Image discs - no PAL speedup - less cropping. This is not counting the valuable Extras on the Region 2 and the extra disc with "The Life and Art of Charlie Chaplin" that you don't even get on the Warner Region 1 set. It would be nice to own that.... and the 5.1 sound... ohh who am I kidding, I'll be getting the R2's as well.

On normal viewing on a television I saw some PAL to NTSC 'ghosting' on the Warner Region 1 discs. It was more prevalent while obtaining captures (as it always is), but not overly obtrusive during normal screenings. By judging the times we can see that Warner has not accounted for the PAL speedup and we have the infamous "blurring" occurring in rapid motion scenes (many examples below). We are seeing the film at 4% faster than normal.

One of these DVDs is out of ratio. The Mk2 characters appear slimmer and taller. I don't know which is wrong, but my guess is the Mk2's. The PAL versions are probably the same. I suspect that the 1.28:1 is more correct than 1.33:1.

What a waste. Obviously the Warner image is sharper than the Image Entertainment image, but I am very disappointed in the blurring which is more prevalent here than in the Modern Times DVD. The contrast levels in the new Warner discs seem artificial to me. The blacks sure are blacker and the whites are definitely whiter but my bet would still be to buy the European versions. I am very disappointed in my purchase of this Region 1 DVD. It does have quite an array of Extra Features, but the "ghosting" is extremely visible on the Warner 'The Great Dictator' DVD.

Instead of doing the transfer from the original source themselves, Warner let someone else do it (Mk2) then took THEIR PAL transfer. Now we get the worst of both worlds: 4% PAL speedup from original source and lower NTSC resolution (AND "ghosting"). It looks to me to have excessive digital processing. I'm glad I still have my Image discs, but will look into the PAL Mk2 versions soon.

- Gary W. Tooze


DVD Menus

(Image - Region 0 - NTSC - LEFT vs. Warner - Region 1 - NTSC and  Warner - Region 2- PAL- RIGHT)

NOTE: Warner Region 1+2 DVD Menus
are identical (negligible differences)

 

 

Kinowelt - Region B - Blu-ray

 

 

 Criterion - Region 'A'- Blu-ray

 


 

CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

 

Screen Captures

 

1) Warner - Region 2 - PAL - TOP

2) Image Entertainment - Region 0 - NTSC  - SECOND

3) Warner - Region 1 - NTSC - THIRD

4) Kinowelt - Region B - Blu-ray - FOURTH

5) Criterion - Region 'A'- Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) Warner - Region 2 - PAL - TOP

2) Image Entertainment - Region 0 - NTSC  - SECOND

3) Warner - Region 1 - NTSC - THIRD

4) Kinowelt - Region B - Blu-ray - FOURTH

5) Criterion - Region 'A'- Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


 

1) Warner - Region 2 - PAL - TOP

2) Image Entertainment - Region 0 - NTSC  - SECOND

3) Warner - Region 1 - NTSC - THIRD

4) Kinowelt - Region B - Blu-ray - FOURTH

5) Criterion - Region 'A'- Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) Warner - Region 2 - PAL - TOP

2) Image Entertainment - Region 0 - NTSC  - SECOND

3) Warner - Region 1 - NTSC - THIRD

4) Kinowelt - Region B - Blu-ray - FOURTH

5) Criterion - Region 'A'- Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) Warner - Region 2 - PAL - TOP

2) Image Entertainment - Region 0 - NTSC  - SECOND

3) Warner - Region 1 - NTSC - THIRD

4) Kinowelt - Region B - Blu-ray - FOURTH

5) Criterion - Region 'A'- Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) Warner - Region 2 - PAL - TOP

2) Image Entertainment - Region 0 - NTSC  - SECOND

3) Warner - Region 1 - NTSC - THIRD

4) Kinowelt - Region B - Blu-ray - FOURTH

5) Criterion - Region 'A'- Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

More Blu-ray captures

1) Kinowelt - Region B - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Criterion - Region 'A'- Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

1) Kinowelt - Region B - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Criterion - Region 'A'- Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

1) Kinowelt - Region B - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Criterion - Region 'A'- Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

1) Kinowelt - Region B - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Criterion - Region 'A'- Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

1) Kinowelt - Region B - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Criterion - Region 'A'- Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

1) Kinowelt - Region B - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Criterion - Region 'A'- Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


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Report Card:

 

Image:

Blu-rays

Sound:

Blu-rays

Extras: Criterion Blu-ray

 


Recommended Reading on Chaplin (CLICK COVERS or TITLES for more information)

Check out more in "The Library"


 

DVD Box Covers

 

 

Duplicate transfer in the UK:

Distribution Warner
Region 2 - PAL

Image Entertainment

Region 0  - NTSC

Warner
Region 1 - NTSC

Kinowelt

Region 'B' - Blu-ray

Criterion Collection, Spine #565 - Region 'A' - Blu-ray




 

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Gary Tooze

Many Thanks...