Bright Lights Film Journal

Looking at Charlie: The Great Dictator: An Occasional Series on the Life and Work of Charlie Chaplin

“In the seventeenth chapter of St. Luke it is written, the kingdom of Godis within man, not one man or a group of men but in all men.”

After the completion of Modern Times¸ Chaplin celebrated by taking a world cruise, as he had done after finishing City Lights. But Charlie was determined not to go through the hassles of a celebrity grand tour this time. He kept the trip a secret from everyone, even Paulette, telling her they would just take a short jaunt to Hawaii. But once they reached Honolulu, Charlie told her, let’s keep on going, to China maybe! Which, of course, is just what they did.

It’s impossible to guess what was on Charlie’s mind. Maybe he was afraid that if he announced his plans for a lengthy cruise while they were still in California, Paulette would have refused. Maybe he was testing her, figuring that if she refused to go he was well rid of her. Joyce Milton, in Tramp, her biography of Chaplin, which is pretty much my bible in these matters, says that Goddard, who had struggled in bit parts prior to appearing as the lead in Modern Times, surely was more interested in promoting her career than traveling to China, which sounds likely. In any event, once she and Charlie got back, she started shopping around, and shopping herself around, giving famous director Ernst Lubitsch a famous blowjob in one of Hollywood’s choicest restaurants.1 (The waiters, evidently prepared for just such an occurrence, quickly erected a screen around the table.)

Her diligence eventually paid off, though not with Lubitsch. She landed a leading role in an all-star flick The Young in Heart (1938), playing opposite Douglas Fairbanks, Jr., and went on to have a substantial film career, which she scarcely could have obtained without Chaplin’s help, or else the assistance of another sugar daddy of Chaplinesque proportions.2

While Paulette was struggling to free herself gracefully from Charlie’s suffocating grasp, Chaplin was renewing the acquaintance of an old friend, Konrad Bercovici, a journalist whom he had known since 1915. Bercovici, a Romanian of mixed Jewish and Gypsy parentage, was, like Chaplin, a classic pre-war radical, though, unlike Chaplin, Bercovici was not a fan of the Soviet Union. Bercovici was on a lecture tour of the U.S., warning of the dangers of both the Soviet and Nazi brands of totalitarianism. He was a particular expert on Nazi Germany, because in 1935 he had interviewed Hitler and other Nazi leaders, who presumably did not know that they were talking to a Jewish Gypsy.

With their shared radical background, Chaplin and Bercovici got to talking about an old idea Chaplin had for a film, about the once-famous radical martyr Louis Lingg, believed, by Chaplin and Bercovici, to be the man who threw the Haymarket bomb in Chicago in 1886, which led to the death of at least a dozen people, most of them police officers, and most of them, in all likelihood, killed by police gunfire.3 Lingg lived over a toy store, an incongruity that fascinated Chaplin, who in his more melodramatic moments may have thought of his films as charming but ultimately useless toys. After batting around ideas with Konrad, Chaplin came up with a plan: My next film will have to be a talkie, a real talkie, something I’ve never done before. We’ll write the script together, and when the film is made I’ll give you 15 percent of the profits. Deal?

Oh, Konrad, Konrad! Never trust geniuses bearing gifts! After all, 15 percent of the profits of a Chaplin film could easily reach half a million dollars, or even higher, and the odds that Charlie would ever part with that kind of cash were well less than zero. But after decades of living hand to mouth, and with a family to support, and with the opportunity to work with the world’s greatest film star, Bercovici said yes, thus entering that special hell reserved for Chaplin collaborators.4 After Bercovici had finished four drafts, Charlie decided that, well, maybe what he really wanted to do was a Gypsy film, which would be perfect for Paulette. Or maybe something really different — White Russians in Shanghai, for example. That would sell!

Eventually, another idea came up — a film about Hitler. Bercovici thought it over and came up with a six-page treatment that is, basically, The Great Dictator, including the double role for Chaplin as both “Hitler” and a Jewish barber. Bercovici’s treatment called for “No subtlety . . . It can’t be crazy enough . . . H isn’t imitation Napoleon but Ludwig of Bavaria5 . . . Charlie could dance ballet with the globe.”

According to Bercovici, Chaplin said he was interested but needed to check with the State Department first to see how the U.S. government would react, surprising Bercovici, who assumed that Chaplin didn’t give a damn about the government. Chaplin excused himself to make a call and then returned to tell Bercovici that the feds had no objections. Later, however, Chaplin seemed to blow cold on the idea, so that, when Bercovici read in the trades that Charlie Chaplin was making a film about Hitler, he was surprised. He was more surprised when Chaplin refused to respond to repeated inquiries about “our film.”

Joyce Milton surmises that it wasn’t sheer greed and ego on Chaplin’s part, but Communist Party politics. There was nothing the Party hated more than a left-winger who had the bad taste to point out the Party’s endless crimes, something that Bercovici had made a habit, and even at times a career, of doing. The Party, Milton suggests, wanted Bercovici off the picture and let Chaplin know about it.6 I rather doubt that Charlie needed an ideological reason for stiffing Bercovici, but if he did, he had one. Bercovici naturally filed suit and, only six years later, Chaplin settled out of court for $90,000, a substantial sum, but substantially less than what he should have gotten six years earlier.

Once Charlie had finished screwing an old friend, he faced the task of actually telling the story of the little Jewish barber and his lookalike, Adenoid Hynkel, dictator of Tomania7 — the film that would become The Great Dictator. The picture presented him with numerous challenges, and it’s not too surprising that he failed to deal adequately with any of them. Despite the usual Chaplinesque extravagance in time and money, The Great Dictator is a clumsy, cheap-looking film, well below the mean for a 1940 Hollywood film with half The Great Dictator‘s budget.8 If it weren’t for a few classic passages, and its unique subject matter, The Great Dictator would be second-rate indeed. But Chaplin, with all his flailing, and with all his moral failings, still managed to turn out yet another film that cannot be forgotten.

Chaplin’s first obstacle was his age. In Modern Times, he was 45 looking 35. In The Great Dictator, he’s 50 looking 50. When we first see him, in a World War I uniform with his shirt hanging out to cover his tummy, only his moustache and the fact that we know we’re watching a Charlie Chaplin film allow us to identify him. In his “Tramp” outfit — actually quite bourgeois, because he’s never really down and out in this film — he looks a lot better. But there’s no hiding the fact that he’s lost a step and gained twenty pounds.

What hurt Chaplin even more than the added weight and age was the fact that at last he was making a real talking film, where he would be moving in “real time” instead of the magical quick time of silent films. He would be subject to gravity now, just like the rest of us, and when you’ve got gravity grabbing your ass the last thing you need is an extra twenty pounds around the belly.

As Laurel and Hardy, the Marx Brothers, and W. C. Fields all proved, it’s quite possible to do slapstick — great slapstick — in real time, but in the opening sequence of The Great Dictator, showing the army of Tomania struggling to ward off final defeat by firing “Big Bertha,”9 a mighty cannon designed to shell Paris, we see Chaplin making exactly the same mistakes that Buster Keaton and Harold Lloyd made when talkies first came in — showing a sequence that might have worked in silent “quick time” in labored real time that lets us see through all the tricks and gimmicks. Worst of all, the bit — about Charlie struggling to disarm a madly spinning projectile from the giant gun — is presented with an utterly silent sound track. Talkies need musical accompaniment as much as silent films. Who knew?

Charlie should have, of course. Fortunately for us, and for Charlie, it isn’t all bad. He gets some good laughs out of a hand-cranked, omni-directional anti-aircraft gun, which has him spinning in loops, and later produces an excellent sequence of old-fashioned pantomime involving a hand grenade that slides first down his sleeve and then down his pants.10

All of his life Chaplin had been telling not just gags but plots through pantomime and now he had to do it through dialogue, and, not surprisingly, he came up short. He fell back on the device of equipping both the barber and the dictator with a confidante, who will both listen and provide expository dialogue as well. To a remarkable extent, the confidantes also tell Chaplin what to do. The fact that both confidantes — “Col. Shultz” for the barber and “Garbitsch” for Hynkel — are played by elegant, understated Brits only emphasizes the obvious.

We meet Shultz (Reginald Gardiner11)) in the introductory scenes set in World War I, a gentleman aviator straight out of Renoir’s Grand Illusion.12 Charlie saves his life, of course, in Androcles-like fashion, which will serve him in good stead twenty years later, when Schultz will save him from a lynching at the hands of a gang of storm troopers. Garbitsch (Henry Daniell13), playing off of Nazi Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels, is Hynkel’s leading henchman, addressing him in an effete, silky-voiced monotone that gets increasingly tiresome as the picture wears on. Garbitsch sets up most of the clumsy plot — a crackdown on the Jews to take the Tomanians’ minds off their empty stomachs,14 which is temporarily withdrawn to allow for a loan from the banker Epstein in order to finance the invasion of “Osterlich,” and then re-imposed when Epstein refuses to come through. It is also Garbitsch who contrives the one-upmanship gags in what is, for most people, the highlight of the film, the epic encounter between Hynkel and fellow dictator/competitor Napaloni of Bacteria.

Chaplin made a number of undistinguished casting choices in The Great Dictator — Gardiner and Daniell, too much alike and too well-bred to begin with, as well as Billy Gilbert as “Herring,” playing off of German Air Minister Herman Goering to very little effect, his one-note shtick exhausting itself in a matter of seconds. But everyone agrees that he hit a home run with Jack Oakie as Napaloni.

Chaplin saw Hitler, or at least portrayed him, as rather akin to himself, a nit-picking, bipolar obsessive-compulsive, a self-pitying, self-dramatizing drama queen15 who just wants everything to be perfect and is always sure that everything is wrong. Casting Oakie as a back-slapping “What me worry?” paisano16 whose bullet-proof self-confidence trumps Garbitsch’s guile at every turn gave the film an alternate center of gravity and much-needed life.

Chaplin apparently had a bit of a vision of Oakie as Napaloni, telling the hard-drinking Oakie that if he fell off the wagon now and again, that would be okay. We’ll shoot around you. At Chaplin Pictures, we don’t play by the rules. Oakie, whose love of booze had practically destroyed his career, probably couldn’t believe his ears.17

Chaplin spends most of the film cutting back and forth between Hynkel’s rococo palace and the Tomanian ghetto, where Yiddish theater actor Maurice Moscovitch, as “Mr. Jaekel,” provides mournful commentary on the rottenness of life, while filling us in on still more back story, including poor Hannah (Paulette Goddard), the sweet, naïve orphan with whom, of course, the little barber will fall in love when he finally returns to the ghetto after twenty years in the hospital.

The ghetto scenes provided Chaplin with yet another challenge, which proved just about insurmountable: how do you make the oppression of the Jews funny? The storm troopers, dressed rather like soldiers in a comic opera, don’t carry guns or even clubs, but they’re still storm troopers, not policemen, and it’s a little absurd for plucky little Hannah to demand that her fellow Jews stand up to them — “Oh, if I were only a man!” — the beloved Hollywood cliché that if you just stand up to a bully he will run away, instead of bashing your head in.

Charlie, once he’s back on the block, does stand up to them, of course, because he doesn’t know who they are. In another labored, unfunny, shoulda-been-silent sequence, Charlie evades the storm troopers while Hannah bonks them on the head with a frying pan. At 50, Charlie was way too slow to sell this kind of humor.

Eventually, Chaplin has to acknowledge that mere feistiness doesn’t work against fascist thugs, even fascist thugs led by former Keystone Kop Hank Mann, and only the deus ex machina intervention of Col. Shultz, looking impeccable if not absolutely immaculate, can save the little barber from an impromptu lynching. The good colonel places his personal blessing on the ghetto, or at least this one small part of it, which the storm troopers improbably accept without question.

Back at the palace, Hynkel runs through a number of not-very-funny gags with the obsequious, blundering, not-very-funny Herring, like a bullet-proof suit (doesn’t work) and a hat-parachute (likewise).18 Far funnier are Hynkel’s eruptions of Teutonic rage over recalcitrant fountain pens and other annoyances (the film could have used more of these). But the great set-piece, of course, is the welt-ballet, Charlie bouncing the world off his butt, a Nijinsky in jodhpurs brooding over the massive, unforgivable failure of the world to adequately appreciate his genius and allow him to kill all of the people he wishes he could kill.

But after the dance is over comes the hard news from Garbitsch that Epstein has refused to come across with the cash, saying that he has no intention of dealing with a “medieval maniac.” “He’ll deal with a medieval maniac more than he thinks!” bellows Hynkel, sounding a little too close to the real Hitler.19 He orders Shultz to punish the ghetto for Epstein’s sins, and, when he refuses, sends him off to a concentration camp. “Shultz! Why have you forsaken me?” Hynkel gasps. Chaplin, who was “betrayed” often enough by associates who expected him to keep his word — Bercovici, for example — surely had no idea of how accurately he parodied himself.

Shultz naturally escapes and naturally links up with the barber, and they both end up in a concentration camp — a poorly guarded one, fortunately — from which they quickly escape, managing to get caught up in Hynkel’s surprise invasion of Osterlich. Adenoid, duck hunting in Tyrolean shorts by his lonesome, waiting to sneak across the border into Osterlich where he can address his victorious troops, is captured by prison guards who naturally think that he is the barber, while the barber, disguised in an officer’s uniform, is accepted as Hynkel, all of which sets up Chaplin’s famous final speech, every great actor’s dream, probably, the chance to tell all the world what you really think, to speak not your character’s lines but your own.

I first saw The Great Dictator in my mid-twenties, when I knew quite a bit about Munich and the lead-up to World War II, but I was baffled by Chaplin’s speech. Although he passionately addressed the workers of the world, as so many radicals dreamed of doing, his content was remarkably confused. Instead of calling for war against fascism, his message was aimlessly pacifist, as though the world were facing World War I instead of World War II. “Soldiers! Throw down your weapons!” Throw them down, Charlie? No, pick them up, and point them at your fuehrer!

Chaplin started putting the pieces of The Great Dictator together in early 1939, right after the Munich Pact, which gave Hitler the “right” to the “German” part of Czechoslovakia, during the era of the “Popular Front” — the Communist Party’s term for a broad, left-wing alliance against fascism. But the film didn’t actually get into production until September 1939, when Hitler and Stalin reached their notorious non-aggression pact, secretly agreeing to divide up Poland and virtually guaranteeing the start of World War II unless Britain and France acquiesced, which they did not. Communists around the world instantly switched from passionately anti-Nazi to passionately hostile to the capitalist war-mongers in the West, denouncing the alliances they once had desperately sought.

There’s no telling what kind of speech Chaplin would have written for the final scenes of The Great Dictator if he had completed the picture in the Popular Front era. But the speech as it came out, well after the start of World War II, was wildly divided against itself — furiously anti-Nazi and anti-Hitler but desperately anti-war as well. Chaplin struggles wildly to paint a picture of his beloved socialist paradise where Jew and Gentile, Black and White will all live together in peace and plenty, but his roadmap is distressingly vague.20 In an entirely personal note, Chaplin also cries out “Look up, Hannah! Look up!” to comfort Hannah, who had “escaped” Tomania only to fall prey to Hynkel’s troops in Osterlich. But he’s also speaking to his mother, Hannah, who died in 1928.

The Great Dictator premiered on October 15, 1940 and was a huge hit. It is a measure of the confused politics of the times that the Daughters of the American Revolution, a once-notorious/ludicrous outfit devoted to ridding America of immoral, left-wing immigrant vermin like Chaplin, invited him to give this speech at their headquarters in Washington, Constitution Hall.21 As Chaplin tells it, President Roosevelt invited him to the White House beforehand, plying him with cocktails and telling him “You’re causing us quite a bit of trouble in the Argentine.”22 Chaplin doesn’t tell us if this event took place before or after the November 1940 presidential election,23 but he does claim that his speech was broadcast to a radio audience of 60 million. Since the population of the U.S. in 1940 was about 130 million, this figure was surely a massive exaggeration.

Afterwords

The current state of availability of Chaplin features is a mess. Both Kino and Warner Home Video have discontinued their “quality” restoration series, which are available second-hand on Amazon and, surely, other places. I have The Great Dictator on DVD from Kino, from the “first wave” of DVD releases. Since the copyrights have lapsed on all of Chaplin’s films, there are lots of cheap boxsets, which are probably awful. It’s painful to note that there doesn’t seem to be much demand for the work of the greatest film star who ever lived.

If you search for it, you can probably find The Unknown Chaplin, a three-disc set of out-takes, interviews, and other material compiled by Kevin Brownlow and David Gill, which is well worth seeing. Chaplin’s autobiographical My Early Years, out of print but available secondhand through the web, makes fascinating reading. His My Life in Pictures, also out of print, has wonderful photos and memorabilia. Joyce Milton’s 1996 biography Tramp regards Chaplin short of idolatry, which is as it should be. Jeffrey Vance’s Chaplin: Genius of the Cinema (2003) is pricey but has wonderful photos as well and probably can be gotten used at a reduced price. I reviewed Simon Louvish’s recent book on Charlie, Chaplin: The Tramp’s Odyssey, for Bright Lights here.

I’ve written previously about Charlie’s films for Bright Lights here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here.

  1. Don’t laugh. How do you think Garbo got Ninotchka? []
  2. On the other hand, Paulette missed out on the brass ring of all brass rings for thirties actresses, the role of Scarlett O’Hara, at least in part because the producer David Selznick feared both that her association with Chaplin might attract bad publicity and that Chaplin himself might somehow interfere with the film. The Tramp giveth, and the Tramp taketh away. []
  3. The Wikipedia article devoted to Haymarket does not identify Lingg as the bomber. Seven radicals, including Lingg, were sentenced to death, on the grounds that they did not dissuade the bomber, apparently not identified at the trial, from throwing the bomb. Lingg committed suicide while in prison, while four of the other six were executed. There is a monument to these men, the “Haymarket Martyrs,” in Forest Home Cemetery in Chicago, near the original Haymarket Square. []
  4. It wasn’t always hell. Joyce Milton tells upbeat stories about both Alistair Cooke and David Raksin. Cooke labored, in a nonchalant way, with Chaplin on a script for a film about Napoleon, with whom Chaplin strongly identified, while Raksin wrote the score for Modern Times under Chaplin’s endless supervision. Both were bright, charming, unencumbered young men who knew how to make their way in the world. []
  5. “Mad Ludwig” of Bavaria was the 19th-century king who built the famous Neuschwanstein Castle that Walt Disney reproduced, more or less, in Anaheim. Ludwig, who found “modern times” extremely boring, also subsidized composer Richard Wagner, allowing him to build his famous theater in Bayreuth for the exclusive production of his Ring Cycle. []
  6. Milton suggests that Charlie’s surprising phone call was to the Communist Party, not the State Department. Maybe. Or maybe Chaplin just wanted a minute alone to think about it. []
  7. Because not many people contract ptomaine poisoning these days (you get it from eating rotten food), people often don’t know that a country named “Tomania” is supposed to be just as funny as a country named “Bacteria.” Chaplin certainly went with Bercovici’s “it can’t be too crazy” concept. Funny names were one of the main props of pre-WWI comedy, but in the streamlined twenties and thirties they were seriously old hat, and in The Great Dictator all of these “wacky” names land with a thud. W. C. Fields, however, never gave up on them, and in The Bank Dick (also 1940) came up with any number of classics: Egbert Sousé (“accent grave over the final ‘e,'” according to Egbert, though it looks like an accent acute to me), Og Oggilby (Grady Sutton’s character — “sounds like a bubble in a bathtub”), J. Pinkerton Snoopington, and, of course, the Black Pussycat Café. Still curious about ptomaine poisoning? The “pt” spelling dates back to the Greeks, which the ancient Romans copied to show off their Hellenistic elegance, and which the Augustan English of the eighteenth century copied to show off their Latin elegance. “Ptomaine,” which literally meant “corpse” in Greek, refers to “any of various organic bases some of which (as cadaverine or putrescine) are poisonous and which are formed by the action of putrefactive bacteria on nitrogenous matter.” []
  8. With his usual leisurely shooting schedule, Chaplin took thirteen months to film The Great Dictator and spent about $1.5 million, much of it for his own salary, of course, along with “expenses,” which he typically used to cover his own living costs. []
  9. If you’re an anal-retentive WWI buff — and who among us is not? — girlfriend, have I got a treat for you. Wikipedia, the anal-retentive’s friend, has got an abfab — abfab and beyond, as a matter of fact — posting on the real “Big Bertha” (actually, “Dicke Bertha“), which was, of course, not the Paris Gun at all but a 42 cm short-barrel (only 12 calibres in length! 12!) howitzer, capable of firing one-ton shells over seven miles, and, not so incidentally, totally dwarfing the Austrian 30.5 cm howitzer, “Schlanke Emma” (“Skinny Emma”). Oh, those Austrians! Always mit der Scherzen und der Strudel und der Shlag, und never mit der winning der battle! []
  10. Chaplin devotes quite a bit of time to this WWI backstory — too much, really. One gets the feeling that he wishes he was still making Shoulder Arms, back in 1919. []
  11. Gardiner made a nice career for himself playing elegant and/or silly-ass Englishmen for decades for both the big screen and the small one. He had a walk-on in Alfred Hitchcock’s first film, The Lodger (1927), and appeared on Hitch’s TV show almost 35 years later, in the episode “Banquo’s Chair” (see the whole episode here if you like). Easily my favorite role for Gardiner was the opera-loving Keggs, butler for Lord and Lady Marshmorton in the Fred Astaire classic A Damsel in Distress. You can view the film via the Internet (via Amazon) here (I haven’t tried this myself. I hope it works, because Damsel is still not available on DVD. []
  12. Did Chaplin see Renoir’s film? I have no idea. The notion that WWI fighter pilots were the last combatants to fight like gentlemen was commonplace. Schultz’s “gentlemanly” behavior — his loyalty to Charlie despite the fact that Charlie is a Jew — suggests a snobbish attitude on Chaplin’s part that you can trust a gentleman — even a German gentleman — to do the right thing. []
  13. Daniell apparently had a substantial reputation on the stage because his first picture was the now-lost (and forgotten) 1931 version of The Awful Truth, appearing in the lead role opposite Ina Claire. Like Reginald Gardiner, he had a long career playing elegant, sometimes sinister types, appearing as both “Count Alexander Cagliostro” and “Squire Moloch” on TV’s Thriller in 1961. []
  14. Americans liked to believe that the Germans were starving under Hitler. In fact, Germans were quite prosperous and happy in the late thirties, which they looked back on as a “Golden Era.” Too bad about the Jews, of course, but you can’t have everything. []
  15. Is there any other kind? Dunno. I was on a roll. []
  16. Kinda paisano. Oakie’s Italian accent, when he remembers to use it, is stunningly bad. []
  17. Oakie was a big star in madcap early thirties flicks like Million Dollar Legs and The Sap from Syracuse. Despite the recent cavalcade of “pre-Code” talkies on disc (see here here, here, and here), the pre-Code musical comedies, of which there were many, remain almost untouched. []
  18. These scenes are reminiscent of Groucho as prime minister Rufus T. Firefly of Fredonia in Duck Soup and W. C. Fields as the president of Klopstockia in Million Dollar Legs. []
  19. Hynkel speaks repeatedly of exterminating the Jews, as though Hitler’s plans were common knowledge, as, of course, they were. []
  20. I first saw this film with a crowd of college students, who laughed incredulously at Chaplin’s rant. I felt sorry for Chaplin at the time, feeling that he was making a brave if pathetic effort to save the world from the horrors of a war that had already started. I didn’t realize that much of his confusion resulted from the fact that he was trying to be both anti-Nazi and anti-war. []
  21. The poor Daughters, who still exist, confine membership to those who can prove that one of their ancestors aided the cause of the American Colonies in the Revolutionary War. This iconic shot, taken in 1963 by Richard Avedon, shows the assembled “Generals,” as they called their leadership. The woman with her back to us appears to be Black, but according to Wikipedia (again), the first Black member didn’t join until 1977. The Daughters were most famous for refusing to allow singer Marian Anderson use of Constitution Hall in 1939 because of her race, leading to a celebrated concert on the grounds of the Lincoln Memorial. Today Constitution Hall is often the preferred site for raunchy R&B acts that can’t fill up the Verizon Center. Sometimes, the times really do change. []
  22. The Daughters were an isolationist outfit in 1940, but the Republican candidate, Wendell Willkie, was almost as pro-interventionist as Roosevelt. Hitler invaded the Soviet Union on June 22, 1941, after which time Chaplin became passionately pro-interventionist, so the Daughters surely invited him before then. Chaplin was in New York for the October premiere of The Great Dictator. []
  23. The Daughters were an isolationist outfit in 1940, but the Republican candidate, Wendell Willkie, was almost as pro-interventionist as Roosevelt. Hitler invaded the Soviet Union on June 22, 1941, after which time Chaplin became passionately pro-interventionist, so the Daughters surely invited him before then. Chaplin was in New York for the October premiere of The Great Dictator. []